Defence and foreign affairs
New Zealand's place in the world has long been debated in domestic politics, and protests against apartheid and nuclear weapons loom large in the collective memory. Today conflict centres on NZ's involvement in wars and surveillance, and over which part of the world it will align itself with. China? The USA? Or a more independent path with the Pacific?
Many take pride in New Zealand's reputation abroad, which is shaped as much by trade and diplomacy as it is by positive media coverage. Although allied with the US militarily, NZ is reliant on trade with China and is increasingly oriented toward Asia and the Pacific, a position which becomes more difficult as tension between the US and China rises.
Aid, development and institutions
New Zealand gives aid to various countries and international organisations. Some say NZ should use its aid budget to secure best political advantage, and others that aid should be spent on areas of greatest need.
Defence and veterans
Some say New Zealand’s involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and membership of the five eyes surveillance network is inconsistent with the values of peace that NZ stood for in opposing nuclear weapons. A recent inquiry into the conduct of NZ forces in Afghanistan has recommended greater civilian oversight of the defence force.