The Antipodean Village Blogger wishes to nominate New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully for a Ladder Award.
WikiLeaks documents have confirmed that he was a driving force in persuading both his National Party when in opposition, and with that the United States itself, to accept, as it stood and unambiguously, New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy (Wikileak: National (McCully) Contemplates End Of Nuke Ban)
As the WikiLeak documents also recall, his then leader Don Brash had been ambiguous about the policy, and National had wanted to have a public referendum on it before endorsing it. National dropped this referendum policy plank before the 2008 election.
This is a case where WikiLeaks revelations about behind the scenes manoeuvring have shown the politician concerned in a positive light.
National has under its Prime Minister John Key continued to uphold the nuclear-free policy they inherited from Labour.
As has been noted in other blogs on this website, it was because of this policy that Mr Key was subsequently if unexpectedly given red carpet treatment by both the United States President and Vice President at the United States Security Summit last April.
The challenge Mr McCully and his government now face is how to develop this policy into a platform from which to develop constructive policies and initiatives.
His foreign ministry predecessor Winston Peters under the prime minister of the day Helen Clark demonstrated how nuclear-free diplomacy could be carried out when he liaised between the United States and North Korea, including a visit to the latter over its nuclear development program in 2007 (Peters to discuss dismantling N-plants on first visit by NZ minister to North Korea).
Liaison with Iran which has similar nuclear-related issues has also been recommended to Mr McCully on this website.
The diplomatic background to Mr Peters’ efforts is to be seen in the WikiLeaks documents covering the Labour government period where the United States embassy says it shares a common interest with the government and reports how “we are increasing behind-the-scenes dialogue on N.Korea and Iran, both of which have diplomatic relations with New Zealand.”
Have Mr McCully and his government perhaps been engaging, albeit discreetly, in similar connection-building?
Antipodean Village Blogger would like to think that the Minister at the very least has his diplomatic staff engaging directly with and listening carefully to the parties involved, notably North and South Korea – also Iran? – as well as China, Russia and, of course, the United States.
Antipodean Village Blogger has yet to see any public indications of this kind of activity, or of New Zealand being positioned to be seen as a suitable candidate for such roles.
It would be a huge pleasure to be able to propose Mr McCully and his diplomatic staff for a further Ladder because they made 2011 the year in which they helped international peace by cementing in New Zealand’s role as an internationally respected nuclear-free peace-broker. Watch this space!
Comments or questions most welcome or send in your own nominations for a Ladder or Shovel Award