Will The New Zealand Election Outcome Mean A Fair Go For Russia?

By   /   October 17, 2017  /   19 Comments

[Author’s Note: this piece was originally prepared for an international audience; and is presented unaltered from its original form]

Late last month, New Zealanders went to the polls for our most recent General Election. The final results have just a few days ago been announced, and they place the nationalist New Zealand First party of Winston Peters in arguably the most powerful position – able to demand their price from either of the other ‘big two’ parties in exchange for their support in allowing a Government to be formed.

But what does this mean for Russia? And why should a mighty, slowly resurrecting Great Power be interested in the humdrum, run-of-the-mill conclusion to our most recent democratic process.

Well, for a start, New Zealand First has a solid record in recent years of advocating for closer economic links between our country and Russia. This may not sound like much given our relative size – but as pretty much the world’s leading producer of dairy products, and a foremost producer of other agricultural foodstuffs like beef, New Zealand is in a prime position to help fill the void left by the trade sanctions levied on Russia in recent years by Western governments.

Unfortunately, the previous [and now possibly outgoing, pending the result of coalition talks] National-led Government saw things differently; and was slavish in its adherence to both European Union embargos (despite not being anywhere near Europe either geographically or in terms of interests), as well as its preference for pursuing ‘white elephant’ economic engagement with the Americans and their cronies via mechanisms such as the TPPA rather than looking seriously at trade deals with Russia.

New Zealand First has criticized all of the above; calling specifically for New Zealand to ignore EU sanctions, look into the possibility of securing a mutually beneficial trade treaty, and continually dared to tell the truth about Russia’s strong economy in the face of lies and bluster designed to denigrate same.

And, further, has vigorously opposed the National-led Government’s efforts to tie us to the military and foreign policy adventurism of the Americans in other areas such as Iraq.

There is thus a strong potential that New Zealand First holding many if not all of the cards in this week’s Coalition negotiations to form our next Government might lead to a better and more pro-Russia fronting from New Zealand going forward; presuming that NZ First Leader Winston Peters continues to press these issues and others like them that he has rigorously campaigned on for the past few years.

Given Russia’s freshly renewed rise on the international stage, as well as her strong position as both a global ‘good citizen’ [as seen in, for instance, Syria], along with the strong potential for mutually beneficial economic links between our two countries – this is surely a development which ought be welcomed by all sides.

The days of the mutually-reinforcing Anglo-American dominance of New Zealand’s geopolitical positioning and economic destiny are coming to a close.

We can but hope that as applies trade and foreign policy, New Zealand’s incoming next Government adapts accordingly and in-line with New Zealand First’s previously announced thinking in this area.

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“Part Apache; Part Swede.
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19 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    Good points there Curwin I agree we need to move closer to Russia and away from the waring USA under the last two administratins.

    They should remember that Russia sided with us against Germany in two world wars and during 1940 took casualties of 11 million deaths as germany rolled into Russia eastern front war but failed to conquer her, but now we are helping USA/Europe as they are trying to kill off our ally in Russia?

    Bloody stupid they are, we should keep the hell away from these war-mongerers.

    • Psycho Milt says:

      So much wrong in one comment.

      1. The USSR sided with Germany in WW2, until there was a falling out among the thieves.

      2. 1941, not 1940.

      3. The figure of 11 million is a Soviet propaganda number – no-one knows what the actual figure is, but it’s nowhere near that.

      4. The USSR wasn’t our ally in WW2, it just found us to be convenient suckers.

      5. None of the events of WW2 have any bearing on what NZ’s response should be to Russia’s anti-democratic strategies in the 21st Century.

      • Gosman says:

        Agreed and Cleangreen also conveniently forgets Soviet aggression in 1939 against Poland ( The country we declared war against Germany to protect), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland.

      • paul miner says:

        If that’s the case then the us , Britan and Aussie are in the same boat.
        We have more to fear from the us than Russia.
        Russia are not the main players going around the world destabilising countries to suit their political agenda.

  2. ann says:

    We should also align our agricultural practices more closely to the Russian model, they are going organic and there will be NO GM foods allowed. This is our chance to show some vision but I despair that we have any politicians with the kind of foresight we need. Winston alone cannot change the status quo.

  3. HC says:

    When you defend Russia and better relations with Russia now, under Putin, you may as well also defend good relations with the head chopping permitting regime in Riyadh.

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/russian-federation/report-russian-federation/

    https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/russia

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/saudi-arabia/report-saudi-arabia/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia

    Do you really want to put bilateral trade before human rights and so?

    Do you propose to out trump Donal Trump in trying to have better relations with Russia?

    New Zealand seems to ignore human rights issues in a number of countries as it is, certainly including Mainland China, so Curwen and NZ First want us to ignore also what happens in Russia, and put our trading interests first.

    Perhaps consider, that some other trading partners may penalise New Zealand for such a position.

    This is exactly one of the positions the Greens could never share, if in government with NZ First. So no wonder there is so far not enough progress in forming a government.

    As Jacinda Ardern said today, the Greens will vote after NZ First have made their decision, so it could still happen that the Greens say, no thanks, we go into opposition, rather than agree to what Labour and NZ First may have agreed on.

    As long as Putin and his clique run Russia, we cannot simply ignore human rights there and sell them more dairy products, I reckon.

    Those who support that will then also have to stay silent on trade with Saudi, with Iran, with any other regime, also Myanmar, I suppose, where a minority has been removed from their homes and pushed across to Bangla Desh.

    • KJT says:

      Do we also stay silent on trade with the advocate of torture and the death penalty, which has toppled more Democratic governments than everyone else combined. The USA.

  4. Richard says:

    Given Russia’s freshly renewed rise on the international stage, as well as her strong position as both a global ‘good citizen’

    The Ukrainians, Georgians, Baltic States and those democracies who had their elections messed with might have a different standard of what constitutes a global good citizen.

  5. Richard says:

    Given Russia’s freshly renewed rise on the international stage, as well as her strong position as both a global ‘good citizen’

    The Ukrainians, Georgians, Baltic States and those democracies who had their elections messed with might have a different standard of what constitutes a global good citizen.

  6. Pat O'Dea says:

    Given Russia’s freshly renewed rise on the international stage, as well as her strong position as both a global ‘good citizen’ [as seen in, for instance, Syria],….

    Curwen Rolinson

    Why am I not surprised.

    “It’s the biggest issue facing the country right now”

    Peters didn’t think Brash would approach him directly if he did want to donate to the party and he wasn’t aware that the party had received any “substantial” donations, which he defined as in the six-figures.

    The last time the pair spoke in person was in April last year when Brash was in Wellington to make a submission to select committee about the RMA.

    He and Peters ran into each other in the street after and had a coffee together.

    “I had said to Mr Peters at that meeting that this whole racial separatism issue is the biggest issue facing the Government right now, at which Mr Peters replied, it’s the biggest issue facing the country right now,” Brash said.

    Affinity for Mr Al Assad in American white supremacist circles

    The affinity for Mr Al Assad in American white supremacist circles can be explained by deep anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim sentiments, along with pro-Russia sentiment, experts told The National.

    Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, said the convergence of the Syrian president and white supremacists in US political culture is not entirely new and has historical background. The outspoken white supremacist David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, “has been a fan of the Assad regime for decades”, said Mr Telhami.

    “He was initially attracted to Assad mostly because of [the Syrian president’s] opposition to Israel, more actively after the Iraq war [in 2003]. David Duke and some others thought this was a war for Israel.”

    Read more: Trump condemns bigotry ‘on many sides’ as Virginia clashes kill three

    Mr Duke visited Syria in 2009, three years after travelling to Iran to take part in a Holocaust denial conference. “We are both occupied by Zionists” is the message that Mr Duke propagated and one that could be inspiring his supporters right now, Mr Telhami said.

    Another reason for the white supremacists’ support of Mr Al Assad could be the perception that he is battling Islamic extremism in a war supported by Russia, said Noah Rothman, a policy analyst and assistant online editor at Commentary magazine.

    “These are Vladimir Putin’s useful idiots and Bashar Al Assad is Moscow’s vassal despot,” Mr Rothman said. “Russia has spared few expenses in the effort to propagandise their support for his monstrous regime as a species of nobility … in their universe, Assad is combating radical Islamists and even the civilian populations he targets with weapons of mass destruction are collaborators who deserve to be cleansed.”

    Both Mr Rothman and Mr Telhami said that although American white supremacists may know little about Syria or may not even realise they are simply echoing Russian propaganda, this did not make them any less useful to political opportunists in the US and the Middle East.

    While not quite in the same league, there are common themes.

    Political opportunism, Pandering to xenophobia and racism are two of the common themes that are a conveyor between NZ First and Hobson’s Pledge, and with Trump’s America, Putin’s Russia and Assad’s brand of Fascism.

    Themes we see in the US among Trump supporters, and on through a two conveyor into the far right KKK and white supremacists, and echoed here by Hobson’s Pledge supporters.

    • The Westherman says:

      Nice try, American propagandist! Russia has tried to bring the war in Syria to a close in very difficult circumstances. And increasingly many in Eastern Europe, including in my birth country of Poland, see that Russia is not the only “threat” – such is the language the Americans use, always assuming hostility in order to justify it.

      • paul miner says:

        Exactly

      • Pat O'Dea says:

        Hi Westherman. It might actually pay to go and talk to a Syrian before you start accusing someone of being an American propagandist.

        http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/from-syria-to-porirua

        American imperialism is not the only evil in the world.

        Further the regime so admired by the far Right and Curwen, was a member of the original “coalition of the willing” that helped George Bush senior attack Iraq. That the same regime lent their torture chambers to the CIA for their flights of Extraordinary Rendition. Far from being an enemy of Imperialism, more like an ally and handmaid.

  7. Psycho Milt says:

    It would be nice if we could assume that a NZ government isn’t likely to start trying to make us a client state of an authoritarian dictatorship just because a party with 7% of the vote would like them to, but National’s involvement with the Chinese government suggests otherwise.

    • Sam Sam says:

      The Crypto-Rubble will be a pair to pair digital currency controlled by the Russian Central bank, with in the next month ( 😀 ) any one who can not give good reason for withdrawing more than twice will pay a 13% tax on the withdrawle. So whiny premadonas can lament the use of swift all they want. International trade with Russia is going ahead wether nubs like it or not.

  8. Pat O'Dea says:

    Will The New Zealand Election Outcome Mean A Fair Go For Russia?

    I think you have worded it wrong Curwen

    Will The New Zealand Election Outcome Mean A Fair Go For Hobson’s Pledge, Xenophobes, racists, facists?

    Just like the election of Trump in the US, and the rise of the National NZ First coalition, I am afraid the answer will be yes.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.