Paul Buchanan wonders why New Zealand is isolating itself over Russia

Paul Buchanan is perplexed as to why New Zealand would want to isolate itself over Russia.

He writes:

The Labour government’s refusal to join international collective action against Russia over the nerve agent attack in the UK on former spy Sergei Skripal is perplexing.

New Zealand fashions itself as a good international citizen and honest broker in international affairs, so it seems odd that it would not join its closest diplomatic allies in what is largely a symbolic gesture of disapproval of Russian misbehaviour abroad.

The decision was made all the more idealistic by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s claim that there are “no undeclared Russian intelligence operatives” in New Zealand and hence there was no need to expel anyone.

She claimed to have assurances from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade that was the case, even though it has no counter-intelligence function nor the ability to ascertain who is and who is not a Russian intelligence officer.

Her comment that if there were such spies in New Zealand they would be expelled produced derisive headlines around the globe but more importantly, raised questions about Ardern’s competence when handling security matters.  

End of quote:

Buchanan is right, she made New Zealand a laughing stock. Australia expelled two diplomats. All we had to do was pick one of three and give them the arse card. It’s a game, the Russians know it is a game and that would have made our allies happy. Strangely, Jacinda Ardern was all at sea over this, and took it upon herself to sit in the back of a speeding limousine and attempt to explain herself through hair tosses and loads of micro-expressions that leave one wondering just how much truth there was in her little sniffy spiel.

The video is amazing to watch but still doesn’t explain why we are isolating ourselves. Buchanan continues:

So why has New Zealand chosen to isolate itself?

New Zealand’s foreign policy in recent years has been trade-obsessed, and New Zealand and Russia opened talks on trade before the sanctions were imposed, then suspended them afterwards.

Talk in Wellington is that some in the Labour-led government are keen to resume negotiations, so taking a contrary stance on response to the nerve agent assassination attempt is a means of currying favour with Putin at a time when other competitors are not.

Given that Foreign Minister Winston Peters has questioned claims that Russia was involved in the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner over the Ukraine, and that it interfered in US and European elections, what once seemed to be an unhinged rationale for resuming bilateral trade negotiations is now being given credence.

It is also possible that Labour is attempting to stake out its “independent and autonomous” foreign policy credentials after nine years of the previous government’s rapprochement with the US and the other Five Eyes partners [Five Eyes is an intelligence sharing network made up of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and the US].

And yet, pragmatic assessment of the situation would advise the Labour-led government to address the short- and long-term costs and benefits of alienating its most important foreign partners by refusing to join in the symbolic repudiation of Russia.

By any objective measure, to include the possibility of securing bilateral trade with Putin’s regime, the costs of doing so will clearly outweigh the benefits.

On the other hand, virtue signalling its independence may garner New Zealand some favour with those outside of the “exclusion coalition” as well as domestic audiences.

The consequences of being short-sightedly contrarian will not be determined by New Zealand, by those countries who were refused support by New Zealand. On the other hand, standing up to great power partners may win broader appeal among those in the global community who are averse to the machinations of the mighty.

With that in mind, the question remains: what exactly were the reasons for this move and what does the New Zealand Labour government expect to gain from its contrarian – even if principled – stance?

End of quote:

I wonder if the excessive use of the word “comrade” by Jacinda Ardern a few years back is hindering our relationship with Five Eyes partners. My sources certainly seem to think having Ardern as Prime Minister is a current impediment to more open intelligence sharing and the reason why Australia is now the filter to anything coming from Five Eyes to New Zealand. Ironically, the powers that be seem to think Andrew Little is a safer pair of hands than Jacinda Ardern.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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