Analysis – By Paul G. Buchanan. First published at Scoop.co.nz – Tuesday, 21 December 2010, 9:41 am.
Underneath the rhetorical championing of a “principled but pragmatic, independent and autonomous” foreign policy formulated in the 1990s, the Fifth Labour government and its successor have worked hard to fully restore bilateral relations with the US even if domestic political considerations on both sides impede them publicly declaring so.
Quiet diplomacy culminating in the 2006 “Matrix” meetings in Bangkok set the stage for the strategic partnership announced in the Wellington Declaration signed in November this year. A US ally in everything but name and lacking only a bilateral trade agreement to cement the relationship, New Zealand has taken a decisive step towards creating a post-9/11 version of the ANZUS partnership that was the foundation of US-New Zealand relations during the Cold War.