Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern to attend first ever NATO summit in Spain

It's a big week in geopolitics -- the Prime Minister's foreign trip to Europe is underway. 

This is for the NATO summit and free trade talks with the European Union (EU). 

Geoffrey Miller is our international analyst with the democracy project, and joined Rachel Smalley on Monday morning to talk more about what this trip could mean for New Zealand, what Ardern is trying to achieve at the summit and Otago's new foreign policy school that begins this week.

He told Rachel that NATO has made China one of the themes of this year's summit and they are coming up with a new strategic concept that is essentially a blueprint for the next decade for NATO.

This is the main reason New Zealand has been invited, Miller said, along with three other countries from the Asia Pacific.

"I think she (Ardern) will be keen to show that NZ has really shifted its position over the last few months and done a lot to help the West, to help NATO, to help Ukraine but that doesn't come without consequences."

Miller explained that it isn't easy for Ardern being the leader of such a small country at the bottom of the world, particularly given New Zealand currently still views China as a trade partner.

He said that trade is being utilised as a tool for wider foreign policy aims, something that has both opportunities and risks for New Zealand.

Rumours are that the deal being offered to New Zealand by the EU is 'not particularly good' and that is part of the reason the Prime Minister is heading to the summit.

"The EU's initial offer included just 1500 tonnes of cheese, that's out of a nine million tonne market.

"1500 tonne quota for New Zealand which really was a dismal offer."

He noted it is likely that the offer will have been improved since then, but doesn't think it will improve very much.

"The EU is 27 member states, it's a lock that operates by consensus, it's very hard to get agreement.

"Especially post Brexit, you don't have the UK in the EU advocating for New Zealand's position anymore."

Listen to the full interview between our international analyst with the democracy project Geoffrey Miller and Rachel Smalley above.