The Dim-Post

October 17, 2015

Relationships and diplomacy

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 4:14 pm

Whenever Key gets on well with another head of state – David Cameron, Barak Obama, and most recently Malcolm Turnbill who name-checked our PM in one of his first speeches – our punditocracy gets very excited and explains that these relationships are very valuable at the international level.

But they seem to be totally worthless. Key’s close relationship with Obama didn’t get us anything in the TPP negotiations, and now Turnbill’s admiration for Key does not extend to policy flexibility on imprisoning New Zealanders in detention centres. These supposedly valuable relationships look more like liabilities: because they’re perceived as very valuable we have to make commitments to maintain them (like sending soldiers to Iraq) and we never want to devalue them by taking a tough stand when it comes to disagreements. It’s like having a rich friend who you’re constantly buying dinner for to try and impress, but never dare ask them to reciprocate in case it looks gauche.


  1. So we, NZ, are buying them, Australia, dinner or something? I’m not quite following the Green spin on this one.

    Comment by Richard Williams — October 17, 2015 @ 5:11 pm

  2. Speaking of Australia, its status as “America’s deputy sheriff” didn’t guarantee it unrestricted access to the US market. And in no small thanks to the US farm lobby which is more powerful than the Washington Senate.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — October 17, 2015 @ 5:16 pm

  3. the US Farm lobby is many things. The cattle producers welcomed it while sugar beet have pretty much blocked Aussie sugar. Been very quiet about NZ lamb acess but that must mean the US lamb producers have won and kept it all close.

    Comment by duker — October 17, 2015 @ 5:57 pm

  4. It would be so much better if they all hated Key because then the left would be able to say Key is useless at foreign policy….oh wait they did say that.

    Comment by David — October 17, 2015 @ 6:18 pm

  5. To Richard and David: how about you give us concrete examples of the achievements, then?

    (Achievements for the people of New Zealand – not for Key’s campaign videos).

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — October 17, 2015 @ 6:30 pm

  6. “Turnbill”? Is this a joke I’m unaware of?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — October 17, 2015 @ 6:39 pm

  7. I suspect that even by Green standards of political rhetoric you are setting the bar a little high here for proof go the impact of relationships between political leaders.

    Comment by Tinakori — October 17, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

  8. “….of the impact…”

    Comment by Tinakori — October 17, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

  9. “So we, NZ, are buying them, Australia, dinner or something?”

    maybe in the sense that New Zealand citizens living in Australia pay taxes to the Australian government to pay for health care, unemployment benefits etc, but if they find themselves in need of these government services themselves, they have to come back to New Zealand and get the ones that are paid for by New Zealand taxpayers?

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — October 17, 2015 @ 8:14 pm

  10. They are valuable. Valuable for the elites, anyway. Say when John Key retires and wants a job at the World Bank or IMF or something, I’m sure his former investment bank matey Turnbull will put in a good word for him (not to mention Clark).

    I’m not a Marxist yet, but I think I’ll grow into one…

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — October 18, 2015 @ 1:22 am

  11. Key is an utter ninny.

    Comment by bosun — October 20, 2015 @ 8:21 pm

  12. Mr McL –
    My thoughts on this are about Key’s long-term life strategies – he’s not trying to influence policy so much, as to shout to his mates in the corporate world “look what I did”, to position himself for moving back into the corporate world after his stint in NZ is finished.

    He does seem to be angling for some very lucrative ‘golden parachute’ directorships, once he’s managed to shift sufficient amounts of assets into overseas ownership.
    The ship has nearly sailed on that front, so expect a change of leadership immediately before campaign period 2017, or perhaps immediately after the opposition coalition wins.
    [Please do not make me contemplate a coalition fail – I need to focus on the positives!!!]

    Comment by anarkaytie — October 21, 2015 @ 11:00 am

  13. Key is an utter ninny

    Comment by جزم اطفال — November 10, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

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