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New Zealand's Foreign Relations and Military

New Zealand's Foreign Relations and Military

New Zealand Army Field Dress
New Zealand Army Field Dress
New Zealand maintains a strong profile on environmental protection, human rights and free trade, particularly in agriculture.

New Zealand is a member of the following geo-political organisations: APEC, East Asia Summit, Commonwealth of Nations, OECD and the United Nations. It has signed up to a number of free trade agreements, of which the most important is Closer Economic Relations with Australia.

For its first hundred years, New Zealand followed the United Kingdom's lead on foreign policy. "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand", said Prime Minister Michael Savage, in declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939. However New Zealand came under the influence of the United States of America for the generation following the war (although New Zealand does still have a good working relationship with the UK).

New Zealand has traditionally worked closely with Australia, whose foreign policy followed a similar historical trend. In turn, many Pacific Islands such as Western Samoa have looked to New Zealand's lead. The American influence on New Zealand was weakened by the disappointment with the Vietnam War, the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by France, and by disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues and New Zealand's nuclear-free policy.

New Zealand is a party to the ANZUS security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In 1984 New Zealand refused nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships access to its ports. In 1986 the United States announced that it was suspending its treaty security obligations to New Zealand pending the restoration of port access. The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act of 1987 prohibits the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of New Zealand and the entry into New Zealand waters of nuclear armed or propelled ships. This legislation remains a source of contention and the basis for the United States' continued suspension of treaty obligations to New Zealand.

In addition to the various wars between iwi, and between the British settlers and iwi, New Zealand has fought in the Second Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency (and committed troops, fighters and bombers to the subsequent confrontation with Indonesia), the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War, and briefly sent a unit of army engineers to help with rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure.

The New Zealand military has three branches: the New Zealand Army, the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. New Zealand considers its own national defence needs to be modest; it dismantled its air combat capability in 2001. New Zealand has contributed forces to recent regional and global peacekeeping missions, including those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran/Iraq border, Bougainville and East Timor


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