Politics

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern invited to attend latest NATO meeting

This week, Nanaia Mahuta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will travel to Rwanda to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting – or CHOGM - in Kigali.

It's the first CHOGM meeting in four years and this year’s theme is ‘delivering a common future; connecting, innovating and transforming”.

Geoffrey Miller is our expert in all things geopolitical – he’s with the democracy project and joined Rachel Smalley on Monday morning to talk more about the upcoming meeting and what it means for New Zealand.

Miller told Rachel that although the meeting is significant, CHOGM does not often produce any significant changes or outcomes in any legislation.

"It provides a forum for connecting with these countries that New Zealand just otherwise wouldn't get and that's where I think it's real value is for New Zealand."

Topics like climate change are likely to be addressed, he said, something that is particularly important for some 25 of the Commonwealth that are Island States.

"It will be a good chance for Mahuta to get her ducks in a row ahead of the Pacific Islands forum.

"It will be a chance to have that face to face diplomacy and get them on the same page hopefully."

This is amidst negotiations a number of Pacific Island nations have made with China around security and trade deals that is causing some disruption in New Zealand and Australia.

Although New Zealand is not a member of NATO, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been invited along with a number of Asian nations, which is why Mahuta will travel to Kigali to represent NZ instead of Ardern.

"This year NATO is debating a new strategic concept, I think that's partly why New Zealand has been invited.

"The other reason is it's kind of a thank you, I think, to Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand for supporting NATO so much over the past few months when it comes to action on Ukraine."

Miller confirmed that China will not be happy with our decision to attend the NATO meeting and any potential alignment that could come out of it.

"China talks a lot about asian NATO as one of it's fears, usually in terms of the quad but this is literally almost going to be asian NATO."

He told Rachel that it will be interesting to see what comes out of the upcoming meeting.

Listen to the full interview between Democracy Project's Geoffrey Miller and Rachel Smalley above.

Check out more to do with Democracy Project at democracyproject.nz.