Speech to NATO Summit session for Indo-Pacific partners
For over 25 years, New Zealand and NATO have cooperated in support of the rules-based international order.
New Zealand’s home is the Pacific, more widely the Indo-Pacific. Our prosperity and stability are strongly influenced by developments in our region.
But threats to our security and resilience are not just regional, they are also global. Geography, therefore, does not determine or constrain our interests and we must have like-minded partners near and far.
New Zealand remains committed to working together with the NATO Allies, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Korea, and the European Union on our collective resilience and to address the challenges we are facing and will face from here.
As a small state, New Zealand depends on a strong and effective international order in which rules and norms, instead of power, governs actions. Any disruption to this affects us.
Russia’s aggression and illegal invasion of Ukraine is a blatant disregard of the UN Charter and an affront to the international order.
New Zealand has a long and proud history as a nuclear free country and is deeply troubled by Russia’s nuclear rhetoric and destabilising actions to date.
Its illegal war has affected global supply chains, causing significant food and energy insecurity for those most in need. In New Zealand we have seen high inflation, high cost of living – these are economic concerns that many countries are grappling with. If we collectively act for peace we can also return economic stability.
The strength of New Zealand’s condemnation of Russia’s actions has been reflected in our immediate, strong and sustained response. During the past 16 months New Zealand has made contributions through military, humanitarian and other forms of support. We have imposed sanctions, travel bans and restrictive trade measures against Russia.
During my recent visit to Beijing, I encouraged China to play a constructive role, by using its access and influence with Russia to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.
New Zealand stands in firm solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
As a nation with a strong commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, we are also concerned in other areas. There are concerning related developments in North Korea and Iran.
The Pacific bears the scars of nuclear testing and any nuclear weapon threats are of grave concern for our region. New Zealand will continue our tireless efforts to support the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The Pacific region is also feeling the mounting pressure on the rules-based order.
China’s increasing assertiveness is resulting in geopolitical change and competition.
Critical supply chain disruptions, economic coercion and foreign interference are shared security challenges for New Zealand, the Pacific and NATO Allies alike.
Climate change, however, remains the single greatest existential threat that we face as Pacific countries. We need to work with like-minded partners.
As we confront the challenges facing all of us – challenges to the international rules-based order, to territorial integrity, to human rights, and to our environmental and economic well-being – we do so alongside our partners.
This is the bedrock of the New Zealand-NATO relationship. A shared commitment to upholding established rules and norms, and to facing global challenges together.
By reaching across regions, we build a safer and more prosperous world for all.