The SIS has been causing grief to some foreign students by delaying or denying visas on the grounds that their research could help produce weapons of mass destruction. It has been happening for years but we have never been told publicly how any New Zealand course of study is making it easier to produce WMDs, or what students are involved.
In the world today, restrictions on political speakers visiting other countries affect left-wing speakers more than conservative speakers. But we should also defend the right of conservatives, like Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, to speak here. Otherwise we undermine our case.
So much for New Zealand’s independent foreign policy. The Strategic Defence Policy Statement, released today, puts New Zealand firmly in the American camp. It portrays China as a threat, warning of China’s “ability to quickly deploy a range of additional capabilities in and around key international shipping lanes.”
I am heartened by the way Labour and the Greens are talking up justice reform and the need to reduce prison numbers. Justice Minister Andrew Little told TV3’s Nation last week that everything is on the table, including reform of the bail, parole and sentencing legislation.
Prior to the last election Labour, NZ First and the Greens all opposed the current deployment of New Zealand troops to Iraq. Labour specifically promised to withdraw them, but nothing has happened yet. Now Australia is leaning on our government to extend the deployment beyond its current end date in November. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made that plain during her visit here last week.
Jim Anderton made a great and irreplaceable contribution to our society and democracy. Without his leadership of NewLabour and the Alliance – and his support of MMP – we might still be stuck with a narrow, two-party, first-past-the-post political system – like Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States. We owe Jim a lot.