Event detail

Is New Zealand’s foreign policy independent, and should it be?

Auckland Museum

November 3, 2022

We pride ourselves on having an independent foreign policy, but what does that mean and is it realistic in today’s changed geo-political circumstances? Participants engaged in a range of questions, including: As a relatively small and isolated nation, how can we exercise foreign policy agency? How can New Zealand navigate tension between ‘great powers’ like China and the US? Is the defence budget big enough to have the military capabilities we need? What’s the relationship between trade and foreign policy? Do we have a meaningful role upholding international human rights and democracy? What should the ANZAC relationship be in the next few years? What principles should guide our relationship with the Pacific? How important is a rules-based international order in a changing world?

Stimulated by these questions, Dr Paul Buchanan of 36th Parallel Assessments wrote a paper in response which is available on his website.

I accepted the Inkling’s invitation with some initial doubts, wondering if it would be another talkfest, but the unfolding of the evening greatly exceeded my expectations. The discussants all brought well-considered views, and their divergent backgrounds and disciplines enabled a rare criss-crossing of ideas, with much spark and light. I was impressed by the open and frank exchanges, views freely aired and received with mutual respect and genuine curiosity. The evening was my best experience of an ‘intellectual gathering’. I believe that such gatherings encourage us to think beyond the square, and challenge us not to become too comfortable in our long-held assumptions. The Inkling truly extends one’s mind.

Professor Manying Ip