New Zealand deals smoothly with an ageing but diversifying economy

China's President Xi Jingping and New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key pose for a photo during a joint press conference at Premier House in Wellington on November 20, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gary Hawke, NZIER

New Zealand obviously does not enjoy the economic growth rates of Southeast Asia, let alone China. Nonetheless, indications were during 2014 that New Zealand could sustain long-term growth of 3 per cent per annum without supply constraints and inflationary pressures. It had previously been thought that the limit was little more than 2 per cent. Read more…

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…

Is New Zealand trapped in the Anglosphere?

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is welcomed to Auckland, New Zealand, by New Zealand's Minister of Defence Dr. Jonathan Coleman (C) and US Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner (L) on 21 September 2012 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gary Hawke, NZIER

The best headline among the usual profusion of journalistic reviews of New Zealand in 2012 is ‘Trivial Pursuits: The big news of the year is a margin-of-error-scale shift in the polls’.

Even in this context foreign affairs played little role in political commentary

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…