The Conversation, Summarised by Centrist
AUKUS is the tripartite security partnership between Australia, UK, and the US formed in 2021.
Would New Zealand’s involvement advance its national interests?
AUKUS consists of two key pillars. The first involves Australia acquiring eight to ten nuclear-powered submarines from the US and the UK over the next three decades, at an estimated cost of between A$268 billion and A$368 billion (this includes operating costs over the life of the program between now and the mid 2050s).
The second pillar involves the sharing of information in new cutting-edge defence technologies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and cyber capabilities.
To date, AUKUS leaders have failed to make a sustained public case for how the means and ends of this security pact fit together. The arrangement seems to be based on the assumption it will deter or counter China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
The “door is open” for New Zealand to engage with AUKUS. To date, the Labour government has not made a clear decision either way.
Ultimately, the Conversation offers its opinion that involvement in AUKUS pillar two looks like a poor strategy for New Zealand.
A new government will soon face the prospect of making a potentially momentous decision about New Zealand’s foreign policy direction.
Feature image by US Secretary of Defense