How to Handle Ambassadorial Appointments: US – and anywhere

Reports that former Senator Scott Brown is the likely nominee to be US ambassador to New Zealand has caused an intense, and essentially negative, reaction here in New Zealand.  The issue raises the delicate relationship between political judgements and diplomatic procedure.  Both are essential; they occupy different spaces but their circles intersect. It is open […]

Continue reading


Syria, the UN, and parliamentary democracy: Are we up to scratch, down here?

The game-changer in the Syrian crisis is not the US soliloquy whether a unilateral strike is to be or not to be.  That is a normal phenomenon of the past half-century. It is the impressive working of parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom.  That is not. Last week, the British Parliament was recalled to debate […]

Continue reading


The Global Affairs Portfolio: Setting the Foreign Policy Agenda

Following the Greens’ new caucus retreat this week, the list of MP portfolios was announced.  I have relinquished the Musterer’s role and the Justice and Energy portfolios and taken on, inter alia, the new Global Affairs portfolio. This is a new development that builds upon, and refines, the previous foreign affairs portfolio.  It focuses on […]

Continue reading


There ain’t no party like an ICC State Party: Vanuatu joins the Court

“A treaty is not a law imposed by a superior authority on its subordinates [but] only a contract whose signatories cannot decree penalties against themselves since there would be no one to implement them. The only reasonable guarantee should lie in the creation of international jurisdiction with the necessary power to compel obedience”. Prophetic words […]

Continue reading


Chogm fails to challenge Sri Lanka on human rights

Human rights was the loser at this year’s Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ conference (GHOGM). Endorsing Sri Lanka to host the next (2013) conference was a slap in the face for those calling for an independent international investigation into the 2009 massacre in northern Sri Lanka and an end to the ongoing persecution of the Tamils. To […]

Continue reading


‘Debating’ Foreign Policy: National and Green

Yesterday, the NZ Institute of International Affairs held an important one-day seminar on ‘The Major Economic and Foreign Policy Issues facing New Zealand, 2012-17’. The programme is here. Some excellent presentations were made, especially by Rick Boven (NZ Institute) and Duncan Currie (oceans consultant). There were three political representatives. The Minister spoke at 8.45 am. […]

Continue reading


Controversial ACTA to be signed this weekend

This weekend, the Key Government is yet again putting our country’s sovereignty on the line by signing up to the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Japan. Until recently, this international agreement had been negotiated entirely in secret despite huge concerns about sovereignty and copyright law. However, active campaigning and a great deal of leaked […]

Continue reading