Putting country ahead of party

October 13th, 2009 at 10:22 am by David Farrar

Readers will have seen the reports that the has lifted the ban on full intelligence sharing with New Zealand. The ban on joint exercises is almost all but gone. After almost 25 long years, the relationship is almost restored.

The praise for this should go not just to the current Government, but Opposition Leader and Trade Spokesperson who have been with McCully and Groser in Washington DC.

Despite the politics before the last election, I understand that the Opposition and Government have been posing a united front, and have made clear that no matter what happens in future elections, NZ will not be amending its law. The Opposition did not suggest it will be gone by lunchtime, but that it has bi-partisan support and is a reality, so it should no longer be a barrier to the relationship.

This, combined with Obama’s own rhetoric about ridding the world of nuclear weapons, has led to a significant warming of relations on the military and intelligence fronts.

So praise, where praise is due. Congrats to Goff and Street for putting the country ahead of their party, and helping enable the Government and US Government to move closer together.

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21 Responses to “Putting country ahead of party”

  1. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    So if sticking to the anti-nuclear bi-partisan position is “loyal to you country”, I assume everyone now agrees Don Brash was both disloyal and guilty of duplicity with his “gone by lunchtime” comments?

    [DPF: Not at all. In fact the report of the meeting is Dr Brash saying the policy would not change under a National Government, even though if it was up to him personally it would be gone by lunchtime. He was explaining the political reality that no change will occur]

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  2. Simon (728 comments) says:

    NZ became a better place when Key ruled out working with Peters last election. Key’s stand to put NZ ahead of party interests in the middle of an election was an amazing and inspiring decision.

    New higher standards have been set by Key which the opposition is slowly picking up on. It has been a learning experience for Goff and Street but the dark sinister years of the Clark Peters partnership are behind us.

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  3. davidp (3,574 comments) says:

    The policies pursued by Labour in 1984 and 1985 had the ironic result of making NZ’s foreign policy less independent. Before that time, NZ cooperated with and exercised with a number of friendly countries. While NZ never really had the option of taking unilateral action, it did have the option of entering a coalition with any number of other countries in order to advance our foreign policy objectives.

    Labour caused most of our traditional allies to turn their backs on us. Except for Australia, which (at great cost to itself) took pity on NZ and continued with military cooperation. So in the last 25 years, we’ve needed to ally ourselves with Australia (and only Australia) in order to pursue foreign policy that required any military aspect. Labour shamefully gave Australia a veto over a big chunk of NZ’s foreign policy.

    So I’m quite pleased that 25 years of dependency on Australia is being replaced by an independent foreign policy. Well done John Key and those who have abandoned their previous positions to support him.

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  4. cha (3,933 comments) says:

    In the Faux news ocean of insanity Charles Krauthammer stands out as the only pundit that makes any sense at all.

    Decline Is a Choice
    The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy.

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  5. george (398 comments) says:

    Goff deserves to recover in the polls from this. Yes, his being away in the US for much of this month will have contributed to Labour falling so dramatically in the Roy Morgan poll, but hopefully the public gives him some reward for working constructively with McCully so that Labour goes up a point or two.

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  6. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    ..the ban on joint exercises is almost all but gone.

    Joint exercises between the US and NZ? :-) The Afghan National Army is probably better equipped than the NZ Defence Force.

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  7. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    I know it’s fashionable to loathe him …
    but credit for a lot of this should also go to Winston Peters, who many people at MFAT credit (some even through gritted teeth) with being the best Foreign Affairs Minister this country has had in decades.

    Disclaimer: no, I’m not a Peters supporter. I voted once for one of his people, and her behaviour led me to swear ‘never again’.

    But credit where it’s due, eh?

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,247 comments) says:

    “I know it’s fashionable to loathe him …
    but credit for a lot of this should also go to Winston Peters, who many people at MFAT credit (some even through gritted teeth) with being the best Foreign Affairs Minister this country has had in decades.”

    I think you misunderstand – MFAT staffers think Winnie was a great Minister FOR THEM. Recall the budget increase.

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  9. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg: No, I did not misunderstand anything. They also praised him for the budget increase.

    We’re a small country at the bottom of the world — one that is among the most geographically isolated — it helps if we have our diplomatic faces where the rest of the world lives.

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  10. Razork (375 comments) says:

    Lefties getting on better with Lefties.
    That’s all.

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  11. wreck1080 (3,865 comments) says:

    What does ‘full intelligence’ mean?

    I imagine the US has a lot of intelligence they would not wish to share. Especially where economic advantage is gained through such intelligence.

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  12. georgedarroch (317 comments) says:

    If you think that closer relations with the United States in intelligence is good for the country, you’ll celebrate this.

    I’d prefer that New Zealand had an independent foreign policy, and was seen as a neutral player by our Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Russian, and other regional neighbours.

    [DPF: Our foreign policy is independent but not blind. I fully expect us to work co-operatively with other democratic countries in preference to those that are not democratic]

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  13. george (398 comments) says:

    When georgedarroch says “independent foreign policy” what he really means is one controlled by the United Nations.

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  14. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    George, having friends and values does not preclude you working and trading with people with different friends and values. Don’t be such a coward.

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  15. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Sorry, I don’t get it…

    Why do Labour deserve our thanks for sticking with their own anti-nuclear (read anti-US) policy? Is it because you’re saying Goff is further to the right than Key?

    If not, shouldn’t you be ‘thanking’ National for adopting Labour’s policy?

    [DPF: No I thanking Labour for saying privately to the US that National is not going to change the law, despite saying publicly before the election that you couldn't trust National and that they would change the law]

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  16. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone, let alone the USA, would believe the word of the New Zealand Labour Party.

    What would convince them is the fact that National now has a socialist leader.

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  17. Tassman (238 comments) says:

    There are 11 people in our complex flats, 6 of them belong to any of the nationalist’s vigilant groups. HNZC has three of them, one nationalist, and two Maoris. But the only reason the local gang has left them alone is because I am here. Honestly, I am not a fighter or anything, they just think I’m cool and they don’t come near. The HNZC one gets special treatments for his flat, the other ones get to travel around the world while living in HNZC flats. The Maoris get to drink and smoke anytime as they wish. It’s amazing!

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  18. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Who’d have thought a socialistic anti-nuke luddite President would be so entranced by a socialistic anti-nuke luddite political class?

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  19. Richard Hurst (833 comments) says:

    “Readers will have seen the reports that the United States has lifted the ban on full intelligence sharing with New Zealand. The ban on joint exercises is almost all but gone. After almost 25 long years, the relationship is almost restored.”

    Well gee….um, hooray?

    Affect of this on the average punter on the street? Bugger all.

    When we have an FTA with the US then I’ll dance and sing.

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  20. Clint Heine (1,570 comments) says:

    Not at all convinced on the benefits as we still have that stupid cold war anti nuclear policy. It’s like us saying to the Yanks – “we want the benefits but we don’t really trust you”.

    If we cooperated fully with the Americans on defence it would bring a remarkable investment for our armed forces.

    I’m with Richard on this, I want an FTA as well… and a removal of the anti nuclear policy. Then we will be back in the first world again :)

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  21. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Dont see why there would be much hoopla over this, not that I am complaining, but given Labour and Nationals track record on defence, this and the proposed ANZAC regional battalion group, will simply be seen as yet another reason to not invest further in NZ’s own defence capacity because someone else is doing the heavy lifting.

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