Friday, February 16, 2024

Professor Robert MacCulloch: 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 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.

Professor Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. He has previously worked at the Reserve Bank, Oxford University, and the London School of Economics. He runs the blog Down to Earth Kiwi from where this article was sourced.


Robert Arthur said...

America trades for manufactured goods which it could and should make at home as it did when America was Great. With our now low skilled and worsening (as we concentrate on te reo) population, we will no longer ever make radios, tvs, whiteware, light bulbs, assemble cars etc. Aprt from how to grow Chinese gooseberies the Chinese do not stand to capture many skills from us.

CXH said...

They claim they want us to be independent, yet want to cravenly fold in case our biggest trading partner decides to punish us. They are showing cowardice, not strength. Scared their wealthy lifestyles might be impacted.

When did those we are expected to look up to lose the ability to walk upright.

Anonymous said...

Life has moved on in the 40 years since this decision was made. Let’s not forget that Helen Clark dismantled the Airforce stating that we live in a benign region of the world. That was about the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard and pretty much shows what a short term thinker she is.
NZ is a gaping hole in the Australian defence strategy and they are happy to remind us, frequently.
If you want to live like a hermit, fine, but don’t expect to hide under the coat tails of other countries who carry the defence load.

Tom Logan said...

Politicians should have a stand down period not only before they become lobbyists but before they are allowed to comment in the media.

About 50 years !

Anonymous said...

I thought Brash was a pretty useless politician.

However since then he has stood up for NZers and I totally admire/respect that. You don’t have to agree with him but the guy is fearless in going out front and fighting for what he believes in and for NZers.

To the critics- have you put yourselves out there the way Brash has? If so, I will listen to you. If not, go on holiday.