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Foreign affairs, who cares?

6 Dec

As the election was nearing, Gordon Campbell rightly predicted that with the exception of the SAS in Afghanistan, foreign policy issues would not be dealt with during the election campaign. This was unsurprising; foreign policy issues have rarely been high on election campaign agendas for a variety of reasons most of which fall under the broader theme of supposed disinterest and apathy towards foreign affairs. This topic of voter apathy became particularly prominent following the election when it emerged that voter turnout had only reached 68%. Moving beyond the unhelpful rants that those who didn’t vote have no right to complain about the government, John Moore offered a more nuanced investigation of the voter turnout issue, arguing that:

“People’s boredom with politics can be easily dismissed as a sign of increasing levels of indifference and apathy shown towards societal concerns. However, boredom can also be seen as a legitimate response to what is in reality bland and indifferent politics. Would anyone for example seriously claim that either John Key or Phil Goff make politics exciting?

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Peace-keeping or Combat? It’s our choice.

24 Oct

The New Zealand Defence Force holds a good international reputation as a well-respected peace-keeping force. We are currently involved in Peace Support Operations in thirteen countries. The most volatile of these are Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands.

Earlier this month, the latest defence report announced that the Defence Force is priming towards a more combative role for defence forces overseas. The NZ Herald reported that ‘The Capability Plan states that the Army will be “reshaped around a combined arms task group to increase the combat utility, sustainability and potential scale of deployments.”’

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