New Zealand could halt its peacekeeping contributions with the UN and jump straight into a deal to get New Zealand’s troops working with the country’s closest allies, Britain, US, Canada and Australia. The move would be a shift from contributing as a member of the international community to using the military for our international interests. One has to wonder whether this proposal will affect New Zealand’s chance of a seat in the Security Council in 2015.
Labour Defense spokesman Phil Goff says the proposal would go against the country’s interests: “it doesn’t help our case if the only thing we can refer to is what we used to do rather than what we’re currently doing.”
New Zealand’s peacekeeping contributions are at their lowest in more than twenty years, with no planned operations in the short term. Though we are seen as a neutral and independent country, we are ranked 90th in peacekeeper contributions. Phil Goff reckons New Zealand could do much better, with troops specialising in peacekeeping. Or else we could get rid of the defense force altogether, as argued by the Centre’s director Kevin Clements.
The Ministry of Defense is unsure about the future of New Zealand Peacekeeping, but it could decide, instead, to increase operations- specifically in the Asia-Pacific region.
This year the government increased the budget’s allocation to Defense by almost 15%, and on Tuesday Peace Movement Aotearoa revealed that the Government will upgrade some of the army’s weapons.
By Daniel F. Benson-Guiu