New Zealand’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific Region in the wake of the 2020 general election
28 October 2020
The Asia Forum in collaboration with the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence, Victoria University of Wellington invite you to its first face to face discussion after COVID-19 lockdown. Also, in memory of Professor Athol Mann who we remember for his passion for and contribution to our relationship with Asia, Asia Forum is delighted for Dr Malcolm McKinnon’s acceptance of the invitation to speak to the forum on the above topic.
“With the election over, it is timely to consider the ways the incoming government should deal with Asia. The Asia-Pacific region (by whatever name) remains by far the most important world-region for New Zealand, framing its strategic environment and accounting for over 70% of the country’s trade in goods and services. The two most important states in the region are China and the United States and the Labour-led 2017-20 coalition government, as every other regional government, faced a challenge managing its response to increasing tensions between them. It is most unlikely those tensions will abate in 2020-23. Taking the region as a whole, a risk is that this one sphere of diplomacy will overshadow all other facets of NZ-Asia relations. All the more reason to remind policy makers and the incoming government of the importance of the regional focus, not least with the differential impact of Covid globally and with New Zealand hosting (albeit virtually) APEC leaders in November 2021.”
Malcolm McKinnon will open a discussion by assessing three facets of New Zealand’s engagement with the region: politico-economic; the domestic angle; and the question of principles vs pragmatism.
Dr Malcolm McKinnon is a Wellington-based historian and international relations scholar. He is the author, among other publications, of Immigrants and Citizens: New Zealanders and Asian Immigration in Historical Context (VUP 1996) and New Zealand and ASEAN, a history (Asia NZ Foundation 2016).