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  • rmacculloch

The Old Guard of Helen Clark and Don Brash are Out of Touch: Time to Hand the Torch to a New Generation

In a bizarre jointly written Opinion Piece, former Labour PM Helen Clark and Leader of the National Party Don Brash have written an article criticizing the new coalition for indicating NZ maybe keen to participate in the Aukus defence alliance between Australia, the UK and US. They start by saying, "In 1985, the NZ Labour Government made it clear that nuclear weapons were so terrible - in the full meaning of that word - that as a country we had no wish to be defended by them. As a result, we were rather unceremoniously ejected from the Anzus alliance which to that point had linked Australia, NZ and the US". That is far from the truth - a large part of the reason I heard persuasively stated at the time was that should a US ship carrying nukes be in our waters when war broke out, that would make NZ a nuclear target. We feared being attacked by nukes, not defended by them.

The main argument Clark & Brash make, however, is linked to putting money above any other consideration. One may expect such talk from Brash, but from Clark (!?) Here is their key plea to Luxon: "Prime Minister, it is imperative that you either reassert NZ’s independent foreign policy by making it clear that we want no part of Aukus, or of any other alliance designed to make an enemy of our largest trading partner". Are they out of their heads? What is Taiwan's largest trading partner? China. And the two could not be greater enemies. What is the US's largest trading partner (just a little behind its border countries of Canada & Mexico)? China. The US imports more from China compared to any other nation it trades with. Brash & Clark should do better than write stuff so weak its embarrassing. There have been frictions between nations that have heavy trading relationships since the beginning of time, the reason being there are things in life aside from money that are also important.



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