Why the AIIB presents an opportunity for New Zealand

China's President Xi Jinping walks with New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key after attending a meeting with the New Zealand-China Council in Auckland on November 21 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Cassandra Shih, Victoria University of Wellington, and Benedict Xu-Holland, ANU.

So far 20 countries have taken up China’s open invitation to found the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Notably absent at the signing were Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, who did not definitively respond to the invitation. Until a week before the signing it seemed likely that Australia would join, but it eventually withdrew, citing ongoing transparency concerns similar to those voiced by US officials. The US likely sees the new bank as a threat to the US and Japan’s status as the regional norm-shapers of development finance. Read more…

Continuity the key to New Zealand’s regional participation?

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key celebrates a decisive election victory with family in Auckland, 20 September 2014. New Zealand’s regional engagement did not feature highly in election debates, argues Gary Hawke. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gary Hawke, NZIER

New Zealand’s approach to regional affairs is unlikely to change with the recent re-election of Prime Minister John Key. The election, held on 20 September, provided a clear mandate for Key’s National Party. The routine three-yearly election was brought forward by a few weeks to provide certainty about who would represent New Zealand at the end-of-year meetings of APEC, the East Asia Summit, and the G20. Read more…

A tale of two New Zealands

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key attends the 8th East Asia Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, 10 October 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gary Hawke, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research

This year, like last, New Zealand will remain challenged by tension between its place in an Asian economic region and its history as part of the Anglosphere. In particular, there is always uncertainty over whether policy choices will be governed by analysis of New Zealand’s interests in the Asian region or by nostalgia for past associations and the comfort of familiarity. Read more…

New Zealand: might 2012 be smoother?

A sign advertising the 2011 Rugby Worl Cup stands outside the destroyed Christchurch Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, after the city was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on Feb. 22. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Robert Ayson, Victoria University of Wellington

Visitors to New Zealand during the uneventful general election in November 2011, which returned John Key’s National Party to office, would be forgiven for thinking things were running smoothly.

This was helped by the fact that a few weeks earlier, New Zealanders gained the greatest prize they could wish for. This was not a Nobel Prize for their leading scientists; nor a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, which Mr Key’s government wants to secure; nor the competent hosting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland, which came and went without much trace. Read more…

Japan’s confused debate about the TPP

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba speaks during a debate with scholars on whether to join a US-led Pacific-wide free trade zone in Tokyo on 4 Nov 2011. Japan is close to the final stage of discussions on the possibility of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which in principle would eliminate all tariffs on imports. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Corey Wallace, University of Auckland

Public debate surrounding Japan’s proposed entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) remains as heated and confused as ever.

The rhetoric is far-ranging: while some maintain that Japan risks being permanently left behind economically should it fail to negotiate entry into the TPP, others suggest that Japan’s government is agreeing to effectively cede sovereignty and sacrifice its agricultural sector for the sake of diplomatic cordiality. No one really knows what the TPP will mean for Japan, but little recognition is given to this fact. Read more…

Climate change and the existential dilemma to Oceania’s microstates

Locals in traditional dress sit on sand bags in Tarawa, Kiribati. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Vikas Kumar, Bangalore

Threatened by geographic and demographic factors, the sovereignty of Oceania’s microstates has been precarious from their inception.

Each of these states has a small but highly diverse population spread over a very large area — their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) are comparable in size to EEZs of some of the world’s largest countries. Read more…

After the earthquakes, what next for New Zealand’s economy?

Damage to Christchurch Cathedral, 17/03/11. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Bill Kaye-Blake, NZIER

Statistics New Zealand recently announced that New Zealand posted 0.2 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of 2010, narrowly avoiding a double-dip recession.

Forecasts for 2011 are scarcely better: the IMF has lowered its forecast growth for the year to 1 per cent, while the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) is forecasting only 0.3 per cent growth. Read more…

India-New Zealand PTA: Broaden it for balanced gains

Meat grader Jason Groube stamps mutton for export at an Auckland meat processing plant, 02 March 2001. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Mukul G. Asher, NUS, and Rahul Sen, AUT

As part of a broader objective of deeper economic integration with Asia, New Zealand embarked last year on negotiating a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with India, one of the rapidly growing emerging markets in Asia.

Three rounds of negotiations have now been completed, with the fourth round of negotiations scheduled in New Delhi this month. Read more…

Trans-Tasman summitry

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (R-front) listens to a reply by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (L) during her address to politicians in the parliamentary debating chamber in Wellington on February 16, 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gary Hawke, NZIER

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand met earlier this month. Former prime minister Rudd never quite completed a visit to New Zealand. Julia Gillard was a substitute on one occasion and another was disrupted by the party coup which coincided with his last attempt.

The main tangible deliverable outcome from the summit was no more than an increase in the limit for Australian investment in New Zealand and New Zealand investment in Australia, without satisfying extra requirements for overseas investment. This is hardly a major achievement. Read more…