Photo: Bruce Tuten via CC BY 2.0

Pacific Partners: the Future of US-New Zealand Relations

This is a major review of the U.S.-New Zealand bilateral relationship that made recommendations to elevate the relationship from its strong foundation.

The CSIS Chair for Southeast Asia Studies released a major review of the U.S.-New Zealand bilateral relationship in partnership with the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs in February 2011.  The study looked at five areas within the bilateral relationship: 

  • Security cooperation;
  • Trade and investment;
  • Science and technology cooperation;
  • Education and socio-cultural ties;
  • Transnational issues (including nuclear safety and security, climate change, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) 

It also examined the impact of regional architecture on these key areas and made recommendations to further elevate the relationship from its already strong foundations.

The study was funded by the U.S.-New Zealand Council in Washington, D.C. and the New Zealand-U.S. Council in Auckland.  Its findings were used as the intellectual and research-based foundation of the U.S.-NZ Partnership Forum, the premier bilateral event linking U.S. and New Zealand leaders to set a vision for future cooperation between the two nations.  The most recent U.S.-NZ Partnership Forum was held in Christchurch, New Zealand, from February 20-22, 2011, where the study was presented and discussed in the opening session. 

The Initiative was launched in Washington, D.C. at an event at CSIS featuring U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, Kurt Campbell, and New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States, Mike Moore.  Moore is a former Prime Minister of New Zealand and was also Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Assistant Secretary Campbell said, “It is the right time for this study.  The U.S.-New Zealand relationship is important on many levels ranging from a common vision on the empowering impact of trade to the fundamental value of a safe and secure Asia-Pacific region.  CSIS has a reputation for doing solid research and putting focused findings in the hands of policy makers.  I am looking forward to these recommendations for taking a solid relationship to new levels.”

Ambassador Moore added, “This is an important study. It will be honest, robust, and will underpin and identify those areas we need to focus on and build on.  This can be a roadmap that makes a good relationship even better.”

The Pacific Partners study was directed by a high level Board of Advisors comprised of leaders from both the United States and New Zealand, including:

  • Former Prime Minister and Council Chairman Rt. Hon. James Bolger;
  • Former Foreign Minister and Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon. Don McKinnon;
  • Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current NZIIA President Hon. Russell Marshall;
  • Former Trade Minister Hon. Jim Sutton;
  • Former Ambassador to the United States Dr. John Wood; 
  • CSIS President John Hamre,
  • US-NZ Council President John Mullen,
  • Hon. Rick Larsen (D- Washington), and 
  • Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

The study was published in February 2011 in conjunction with the Partnership Forum.