PM names Peters min­is­ter of dis­ar­ma­ment

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - HENRY COOKE

In her first for­eign pol­icy speech in of­fice, Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern re­in­stated the Cabi­net port­fo­lio of dis­ar­ma­ment and arms con­trol.

Ardern an­nounced her deputy Win­ston Peters would take up the min­is­te­rial role.

‘‘The port­fo­lio re­spon­si­bil­ity will be given to Rt Hon Win­ston Peters, and is an ac­knowl­edg­ment of the em­pha­sis this govern­ment places on our long held an­ti­nu­clear stance, and the role we must play now and in the fu­ture,’’ Ardern said to a New Zealand In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs con­fer­ence yes­ter­day morn­ing.

‘‘The pur­suit of dis­ar­ma­ment is as vi­tal to­day as it was when Nor­man Kirk and David Lange pro­claimed New Zealand’s op­po­si­tion to nu­clear weapons and nu­clear test­ing in the Pa­cific.’’

The Labour govern­ment of then-Prime Min­is­ter David Lange banned nu­clear armed and pro­pelled ships from New Zealand wa­ters in the 1980s. The cabi­net po­si­tion was dis­es­tab­lished by the pre­vi­ous govern­ment.

Ardern an­nounced she was also look­ing at an early rat­i­fi­ca­tion of Treaty on the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Nu­clear Weapons, which New Zea- land signed last year.

‘‘At a time when risks to global peace and se­cu­rity are grow­ing and the rules-based sys­tem is un­der such pres­sure, we must recom­mit our­selves to the cause of non-pro­lif­er­a­tion and dis­ar­ma­ment, and to the norms and rules which sup­port those en­deav­ours,’’ Ardern said.

‘‘Risks to global peace and se­cu­rity are grow­ing. The great­est chal­lenge we have to­day comes from North Korea, sit­u­ated right here in our re­gion.’’

The speech fo­cused on the im­por­tance of al­lies and the rules based or­der for small na­tions like New Zealand.

‘‘Small coun­tries need friends. We will look to strengthen part­ner­ships with long-stand­ing friends who share our val­ues,’’ Ardern said.

In a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion af­ter the speech the prime min­is­ter said the big­gest threat fac­ing New Zealand was a break­down in this rules based or­der.

She also noted real dif­fer­ences with close friend­ships.

‘‘The real strength of any im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship lies in its breadth and abil­ity to en­com­pass dif­fer­ence. For ex­am­ple, we were dis­ap­pointed at the United States with­drawal from the Paris agree­ment and some of its po­si­tion­ing on trade,’’ Ardern said. ‘‘But our re­la­tion­ship with the US is cer­tainly ro­bust enough to with­stand those dif­fer­ences.’’

She also noted dif­fer­ences with China, while prais­ing them for move­ment on cli­mate change and trade lib­er­al­i­sa­tion. ‘‘ My govern­ment will speak hon­estly and openly with our friends in Bei­jing. Whether it is about hu­man rights, pur­su­ing our trade in­ter­ests, or the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of our re­gion.’’

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Peters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.