web analytics

Diplomacy, you’re doing it old school

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, April 13th, 2013 - 34 comments
Categories: Spying, trade - Tags:

Have you noticed that we have very few visits from leaders of major countries to NZ these days? I was thinking about that watching Key give himself ’10 out of 10′ for his trip to China and reading Audrey Young’s piece, which basically asks ‘what was all that in aid of?’ Key’s junkets always seem to be ‘goodwill’ visits with no real goals or diplomatic outcomes.

There’s a charmingly naive belief in some of the reportage that just getting ‘face-time’ with leaders of other countries somehow matters. Maybe it would have 50 years ago. Now, diplomacy is highly professionalised – it progresses by the signing of documents when both countries’ experts perceive it is in their best interests to sign them – not because a leader once had dinner with another one and shared a joke. Successful countries simply don’t operate their trade policies based on personal whims like that – it’s realism, not relationshipism.

Key going along to open a pizzeria that’s using New Zealand ice cream doesn’t advance our trade relationship with China one iota. Nor does Joyce reading from a Chinese translation of Hairy Maclary. The fact that he had to pad out his programme with that kind of fluff reveals the lack of substance.

You don’t see leaders of other countries doing the diplomatic equivalent of popping over for a cup of tea. They go places to sort out issues and seal deals. And they don’t come to New Zealand anymore, because we’ve got nothing substantive to do with them.

New Zealand’s diplomacy, especially under Key is outmoded. And the results are plain. Despite being the ‘dealmaker’ Prime Minister who is committed to free trade, Key has failed to negotiate a single trade deal in his four and a half years. And he managed to do something, its unclear what, to kill the FTA with the Gulf Cooperation Council at the last minute.

What about the business to business links that happen on the periphery of these meetings, you might ask. Frankly, they happen just as well without Key bouncing around in the centre.

Key’s empty record on international relations, a huge number of visits that have had no outcome (or, seemingly, purpose) other than filling his scrapbook, speaks for itself. These junkets are a waste of time and public money.

Which brings me to a final point. A lot of people bought Key’s line that he couldn’t have been behind the leak of the Kitteridge report while he was overseas because the last thing he wanted was distraction from coverage of his wonderful trip. But let’s play out the counterfactual: Key goes to China for a week with nothing really to do. He’s got half a dozen journos with him who, being self-respecting people, aren’t best pleased with him calling them knuckleheads. The coverage of the trip is thin and critical of Key’s empty programme. His PR ops are mocked.

So much better, then, to get the Kitteridge report out then – it means the scandal does its dash while Key isn’t in Parliament and is largely out of answering range. The press gallery is split between the people who can ask him the questions because they’re with him, and the ones who are digging into the issue and have the right questions to ask here in New Zealand, weakening the coverage. And Key gets to frump off from press standups in China complaining that they’re ignoring all the wonderful things he’s achieving because they’re distracted by scandal-mongering.

If you think that the report just happened to be leaked while Key was overseas, you probably also think it’s a coincidence that Key happened to scoot out of the country just before the GCSB Ministerial Warrant was signed. If you believe that, my message to you is the same as my message to New Zealand’s diplomats and leaders abroad – get real.

34 comments on “Diplomacy, you’re doing it old school”

  1. Macro 1

    Frankly I don’t care if NZ never ever signs another “free trade” agreement again! They are nothing more than a mechanism for the export of jobs from this country. Globalisation is more about the globalisation of poverty and the further enrichment of the super wealthy. The sooner we dismantle this web of “deals” between those who have at the expense of everyone else – the better for the rest of the world population -and for the environment.

    • Herodotus 1.1

      Link your comment with transfer pricing and structures that allow for profits to escape having local taxes apply. Just another drain on our balance of payments and indirectly selling our sovereignty and self determination. I wonder who will be the 1st Sovereign country to be sold just like an EPL football team?
      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/apples-nz-unit-paid-tax-amounting-04-percent-its-half-billion-sales-2012-bd-137629

    • Tim 1.2

      And the laughable part is that Wonder Boy thinks his little jaunts (alongside buzzniss leaders and others) are somehow ‘progressing things’ (going forward). It’s that kind of arrogance that makes him believe he’s smarter than those recently visited and on his agenda. Half (ekshly MOST) of Sth America’s got his number….. just India, Russia, Sth Efrika left to conquer eh John?
      As someone else has pointed out ….. after 4 years bordering on 5 – where’s the FTA deal John?
      John Key has NO cultural affinity with ANYTHING of value that isn’t based on a dollar. Bloody shame for him though that he hasn’t taken into account that those he seeks to do buzzzniss with usually see things differently. And, as another post on here points out – TRUST is an important cultural value.
      There is none, so when and IF anything comes to pass, rest assured it won’t be based on a benefit to what JK seeks to ‘represent’ – Nu Zull.
      Keep it coming tho’ John. I’m watching in entisspayshun

      • Tim 1.2.1

        Well, now I think further: pus, pimple, bum, ugly springs to mind!
        Nu Zull eh?! John Key Eh?1
        Staying the course!

    • Murray Olsen 1.3

      I agree, Macro. If paying for Key’s photo ops means we are not subject to Free Trade Deals, I think they come cheap.

    • Gosman 1.4

      One of the biggest contributors to reduction in global poverty though. I suspect you don’t care about reducing global poverty. At least people like Helen Clark are. Hence why she loves free trade deals.

  2. Hooray! 2

    Let’s not forget another reason for Key’s trip. It’s a free overseas holiday. I bet he has a much greater flexibility in his diary when he’s overseas. Plus he probably gets to fuck his secretary a bit more than usual.

  3. tc 3

    It’s not about diplomacy or advancing NZ in any way.

    It’s to keep him away from the clusterf*#k he’s fronting back here and reduce the opportunities for more ‘knucklehead’ moments as he’s proven he useless when questioned to any reasonable level reverts to bullying a la the cup of tea in 2011.

    He gets to be PM and do as many junkets as he can while the real workhorses of the sell off go about making it happen, like Joyce, findlayson, Blinglish and the boot crew like crusher, basher and royall get to punish the great unwashed into the bargain.

    He didn’t leave wall street to do anything other than as told by the hollowmen which amounts to keeping him and his media sycophants filing pretty photo opp’s of what a big man JK is.

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    The ‘optics’ of his meetings are always run to over dramatise Keys actual schedule.

    The China visit is a perfect example.

    Key was one of a number a ( more important) world leaders at some sort of summit at Hainan Island

    I think the meeting with the Chinese president was merely a grip and grin.

    But Key adds in a few extra cities and meets other functionaries.

    Back here it appears he is on a major state visit.

    Washington is usually the same: he meets the Vice President , the Secretary of State and so on, but gets only a 5 min ‘bilateral’ with Obama.

    The media back here play it like hes the centre of attention in Washington for a few days

  5. KJT 5

    Why bother visiting New Zealand. We have already given away everything!

  6. infused 6

    Yeah, probably because of this

  7. karol 7

    I wouldn’t underestimate Key. Throughout his PM-ship things have been going on that we are now only becoming aware of – eg his integration of the GCSB, and loads of small changes adding up to major shifts.

    I think when he’s doing his photo ops, there’s likely to be other things happening behind the scenes.

    This time, it may be an excuse to be out of the country when Kitteridge’s report was released. But, also, Key’s government is trying to balance the US-dominated TPPA, with the ASEAN-centred RCEP – maybe his team have sen a need to keep on China’s good side.

    And maybe Key has some commerce-centred deals going on behind the scnes.

    • dumrse 7.1

      Conspiracy, the theory of last resort.

      • karol 7.1.1

        So, does that mean you’ve run out of ideas that you’ve got to resort to raising the idea of conspiracy?

        My comment is about an evasive and two-faced way of going about things.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Please, can we just all be sensible like the three blind, deaf, dumb monkeys?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1.1.2

          “…run out of other people’s lines to repeat mindlessly…”
          FIFY

          Dumbarse hasn’t authored a single original thought, so there is no evidence that they had “ideas” to run out of.

    • Wayne 7.2

      I suspect that Koral is correct.

      The Boao Forum at Hianan would no doubt have been focused on RCEP. China needs RCEP to catch up to TPP (in terms of timing). TPP is supposed to be completed this year. China which is not part of TPP would want RCEP to show it can carry the same authority in the Asia Pacific as the US. The fact that the ASEAN nations and Australia and New Zealand were the main nations at Boao is possibly the indicator. And unlike TPP negotiations, China is able to do this quietly.

  8. BrucetheMoose 8

    In a funny sort of way, I genuinely relish the fact that Key insists on continually whipping overseas on his little escapades. Hopefully on one of them, he will forget to come back. Wouldn’t that be nice.

  9. Populuxe1 9

    I don’t think world leaders have ever really made a big habit of coming here outside of ASEAN conferences, although Xi Jinping in 2010 was a big deal, but unless Karol is some specialist in international foreign relations, I think she’s talking nonsense. I know from my own experiences in the area of international cultural exchanges nothing ever gets done unless you travel for face time because you simply don’t exist – particularly if you are on the other side of the planet.

  10. Rogue Trooper 10

    an intersecting Vale of analysis,
    and Con-jecture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjecture popping here and there.

  11. johnm 11

    The Yankey john. You’ll just get the Yank line on society, economics and foreign policy, the hapless locals don’t count at all! 🙁 So Why bother visiting? It’s a foregone conclusion you’ll get standard Yanker lines. refer Washington! 🙂

  12. Skinny 12

    Frankly I think Key done more harm than good on this visit. One would think after 5 years as PM he would have learnt to be diplomatic, referring to his open backing of supporting South Korea in the event of any future conflict. The Chinese Leadership will know Labour have been their real foe but regardless John Key should have known better than to insult the Chinese in their own Country.  

  13. Rogue Trooper 13

    after checking out the mark-downs at HNW yesterday (across that side of the tracks on a mission) I had a conversation with a lady-pensioner who hailed from Dartmoor; it seemed that her husband had been a principal, and very conversant with politics around the dining-table; anyway, it was a lovely day, lovely day, so we chatted about the weather and politics and the young people of today as you do; she felt Thatcher had been an important figure, yet, SHE COULD NOT STAND JOHN KEY. 🙂 lovely lady, we valued her experienced perspective.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    23 hours ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    3 days ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    3 days ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    3 days ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    3 days ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    4 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    4 days ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    4 days ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    4 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    5 days ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    5 days ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    5 days ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    6 days ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    7 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    7 days ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    7 days ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    1 week ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    1 week ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    1 week ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    1 week ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    1 week ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Labour sends condolences to UK
    The New Zealand Labour Party is sickened and saddened by the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Ms Cox was killed in cold blood while simply doing her job as a constituent MP. She ...
    1 week ago
  • Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list
    Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota by 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Paula Bennett as a victim hard to swallow
    The National Party spin machine has gone into overdrive to try and present Paula Bennett as the victim in the Te Puea Marae smear saga, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Bill English in Parliament today tried valiantly to paint ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Voters to have the final veto on paid parental leave
    New Zealanders will have the final right of veto on a Government that has ignored democracy and is out of touch with the pressures and demands on families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Today’s decision by National to veto 26 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Collins should put Kiwis’ money where her mouth is
    Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash is calling on anyone who has received a speeding ticket for going up to 5km/h over the 100km/hr open road speed limit to write to him and he will take it up on their behalf ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the leadership on equal pay for work of equal value?
    The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis’ real disposable income goes nowhere for the year
    New Zealanders’ hard work for the last year resulted in no increase in real disposable income, showing Kiwis aren’t getting ahead under National, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Today’s GDP figures reveal that real gross national disposable income per ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pora case a case to learn from
    Conformation that Teina Pora will receive $2.5million from the Crown for more than 20 years of wrongful imprisonment does not fix the flaws in our system that led to this miscarriage of justice, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to start again with RMA changes
    The National Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act have attracted more than 800 submissions, many of them critical of key aspects of the Resource Legislation Bill. There has been much criticism of the new regulation making powers given ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • Bennett’s briefing completely unacceptable
    It is completely unacceptable that Paula Bennett briefed her political staff on the police investigation into Hurimoana Dennis after her meeting with him, despite it having nothing to do with her social housing portfolio, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to Green Building Council
    Building smarter, greener cities It will be clear to anyone who has been watching the public debate on the housing crisis that housing in New Zealand is sadly far from being economically sustainable when Auckland has the fourth most unaffordable ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paula Bennett has more questions to answer
    It is unthinkable that Paula Bennett’s press secretary went rogue and tried to smear the reputation of someone involved in helping the homeless, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Political staff would not take such serious unilateral action without the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech on Notice of Motion on Orlando
    Mr Speaker, The Labour Party joins with the government in expressing our horror at this atrocity and our love and sympathy are with the victims and their families. Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando and of the United ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiakina Ngā Wai – Swimmable Rivers Report June 2016
    The campaign to clean up our rivers was launched at the Green Conference at Queens Birthday weekend. However, the work prior to the launch goes back a number of years. Russel Norman and Eugenie Sage deserve full credit for the ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere