New Zealand a 'Long Way' From Deciding on AUKUS Defense Pact

New Zealand a 'Long Way' From Deciding on AUKUS Defense Pact
Image copyright: Hagen Hopkins/Stringer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Wednesday that his country was "a long way" from deciding on joining the Australia-UK-US defense pact (AUKUS), which is aimed at countering China's influence in the Pacific region.

  • While he said his country wouldn't be joining any time soon, he did say it would be "irresponsible" not to consider joining AUKUS, arguing that the status of the country's historically independent foreign policy has "seismically shifted."

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

Under both liberal and conservative governments, New Zealand has acted as a US proxy for decades. After supporting both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars at the beginning of the century, and now training Ukrainian troops in the UK and backing Israel's bombardment of Gaza, it will be no surprise when Wellington joins this anti-China agreement. Whether it signs on to the nuclear submarine part of AUKUS or not, New Zealand seems willing to help start a new war with China.

Pro-establishment narrative

It makes sense for New Zealand to join AUKUS for several reasons. Not only do Western countries account for most of its trade partners, but China has imposed sanctions on the small island since 2020. Given that its economy is far too small to fund a completely independent defense budget, it's also obvious that Wellington would benefit significantly from joining a military pact. If New Zealand wants to deter China's threats, its best option is to join the AUKUS.

Metaculus Prediction

Go Deeper

Sign up to our daily newsletter