Throughout the 1990s, New Zealand maintained a commitment to Asia-Pacific security as one of the three pillars of a broadly based defence policy. However, Wellington tended to define its regional security goals in very general terms, making few obvious steps towards the formal publication of a regional security strategy. This article provides an explanation for this somewhat indirect approach to regional security. It also explores New Zealand's future role in Asia-Pacific regional security against the backdrop of two important developments in the latter half of 1999. The first of these was New Zealand's extensive commitment to the multinational force in East Timor -- the largest overseas deployment by the New Zealand Defence Force since the Korean War. The second was the election of a centre-left Labour-Alliance government committed to a thorough review of New Zealand's defence priorities.
The proposition that regional security matters to New Zealand is unlikely to raise many voices of domestic protest. But one does not have to be a post-modernist to recognize that perceptions of the region, and of security within it, depend on the eye of the beholder. It stands to reason that when New Zealand approaches security in the Asia-Pacific it does so from a perspective which reflects its own particular place in the world. This view is further filtered according to the way the government of the day defines the region and the security problems it is most keen to address.
This article begins with an examination of New Zealand's consistent approach to regional security during the 1990s under a series of governments led by the centre-right National Party. A comparison with Australia's more direct regional security strategy is used to illustrate the generality of New Zealand's approach. The latter is then explained with reference to six key factors, ranging from New Zealand's relative distance from major security events in the Asia-Pacific to Wellington's desire to keep its options open.
The final sections of the article deal with the potential change to this security policy status quo stemming from two key developments. The first of these is New Zealand's role in the international community's response to the post-referendum violence in East Timor. As Chair of the September 1999 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit held in Auckland, New Zealand presided over the consideration by regional leaders of the escalating East Timor crisis on the increasingly wide sidelines of this important annual forum.  New Zealand then made substantial military contributions to the Australian-led International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and its replacement, the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET).
Under INTERFET, New Zealand's commitment reached a high point of 830 troops and over 1,100 personnel in total from all three New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) services.  While New Zealand's contribution to East Timor has since been scaled back to 660 troops under UNTAET,  this is still a substantial undertaking for New Zealand, especially as it involves rotating battalion groups under a projected eighteen-month commitment until March 2001. 
The second major development was the November 1999 election of a centre-left coalition government comprising the Labour and Alliance Parties, which is also backed by the support of the Green Party in the House of Representatives. Prime Minister Helen Clark's new government has included in its heavy workload a commitment to revamp New Zealand's defence posture.  This promised overhaul will undoubtedly have implications for Wellington's future approach to regional security.
New Zealand and Australia on Regional Security: A Brief Comparison
The most obvious benchmark for assessing New Zealand's regional security role is the approach taken by. its nearest neighbour, Australia. This is to be expected not least because of Canberra's senior role in Wellington's most important defence partnership. Indeed, in recent years, this ongoing pattern of defence co-operation has been reflected in the establishment of closer defence relations (CDR) between the two Australasian governments. 
These close bilateral Links draw on a legacy of joint participation in a series of regional security undertakings during the Cold War under the leadership of the United States and the United Kingdom. This important sequence of commitments saw both Australian and New Zealand forces committed to the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the defence of Malaysia during Jakarta's Konfrontasi campaign, the Vietnam War, and an ongoing presence in Southeast Asia in what began in the mid-1950s as the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve. 
Canberra and Wellington became partners to the Australia--New Zealand--United States (ANZUS) Security Treaty and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO),  and assisted Britain in its Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement (AMDA) commitments, all of which underscored the importance of regional security in East Asia to both Australasian countries. The second and third of this triumvirate of alliance-based relationships have been extinct for some time, and while relations between Washington and Wellington are very positive in overall terms, the New Zealand--U.S. leg of ANZUS has been in suspended animation since the mid-1980s dispute over the non-nuclear policy introduced by David Lange's Labour government. 
In this context, the 1971 Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) has become the main formal defence mechanism involving the commitment of both countries' defence forces to regional security.  Australia and New Zealand also work with each other in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and co-operate extensively on South Pacific security matters. In terms of specific deployments, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Australian Defence Force are currently making leading contributions both in East Timor and to the 300-strong Peace Monitoring Group on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, which also involves personnel from Fiji and Vanuatu. Australia and New Zealand have also extended their own bilateral defence linkages with a wide range of regional countries through co-operative activities such as joint training, exercises, security discussions, and the exchange of defence attaches. 
This is not to imply an equivalence of commitment or concern about regional security between Canberra and Wellington. Indeed, it is tempting for New Zealand's strategic analysts to bemoan the absence of some of the working assumptions which Australian planners have been able to rely on. The ongoing debates on the future of New Zealand's naval combat force (that is, acquiring modern frigates) and air combat capability reveal a willingness to question fundamental parts of defence force structure which is rarely evident in the Australian environment.
That Australian proponents of a stronger emphasis on defence provision face less domestic opposition than their New Zealand counterparts reflects, among other things, the different geopolitical circumstances facing the two countries. For Australia, there is no question about the proximity and immediacy of important regional security developments. This applied in the case of the forward defence thinking of the 1960s, which for some critics has been revisited since the election of the Howard government.  It was also the case for Paul Dibb's multi-layered strategy of denial  which helped to change the face of Australia's security planning in the mid-1980s.
The regional security connection was made even more explicit at the end of that decade with the launch in late 1989 of the Evans statement on regional security in which the Hawke Labor government laid out a broad strategy of comprehensive regional security engagement for Australia.  Perhaps working on the basis of an "anything Labor can do we can do better" principle, in December 1997 the Howard government outlined its own regional security strategy in the form of Australia's Strategic Policy  (ASP 97). By this time, the first Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade White Paper, In the National Interest, had also been published,  providing some basic assessments of the importance of the region to Australia, which the Strategic Policy document was then to build on.
Of course, the mere publication of an explicit regional security policy is no guarantee of its quality or accuracy. Yet the two 1997 Australian documents provide a sense of priority and focus in Australia's external policy which, on the whole, are difficult to find in New Zealand policy. Firstly, In the National Interest confirms the Asia-Pacific as Australia's priority area of interest.  This logic then flows into ASP 97's statement that: "While we have important interests -- including strategic interests -- at the global level, the focus of our strategic attention is now more than ever on the Asia-Pacific region."  Moreover, ASP 97 provides a fairly clear, albeit rather ambitious, list of "Australia's key strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific region". According to this document, Australia needs:
* to avoid destabilizing strategic competition between the region's major powers;
* to prevent the re-emergence in the Asia-Pacific of a security environment dominated by any power(s) whose strategic interests would likely be inimical to those of Australia;
* to maintain a benign security environment in Southeast Asia, especially in maritime Southeast Asia, which safeguards the territorial integrity of all countries in the region;
* to prevent the positioning in neighbouring states by any foreign power of military forces which might be used to attack Australia; and,
* to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Asia-Pacific region. 
It is not the object of this article to assess whether these objectives are too ambitious for Australia or whether they may exaggerate the potential threats to Australia's security which they seek to contain. However, they provide a benchmark against which New Zealand's regional security objectives can be usefully compared. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent New Zealand document to either In the National Interest or ASP 97. But the 1997 Defence White Paper does contain a statement of New Zealand's regional security objectives. According to the Shape of New Zealand's Defence, the requirements are:
* to make an appropriate contribution to the maintenance of security in the Asia-Pacific region by having a range of militarily effective capabilities that are inter-operable with New Zealand's allies and friends;
* to fulfil New Zealand's commitments under the FPDA; and,
* to ensure that New Zealand's contribution to regional security is valued by regional partners and contributes to New Zealand's standing in the region. 
As is the case with much of the defence policy shaped under the National Party-led governments of the 1990s, these objectives say as much if not more about key defence relationships ("allies and friends", the FPDA, and "regional partners") as they do about the specific regional security outcomes which these partnerships are meant to promote. If the ASP 97 list suggests a middle power confident of its own ability to project its influence, the New Zealand list reflects the philosophy of a much smaller entity offering to do its bit within a multilateral framework.
Hence, there is much to be said for Jim Rolfe's explanation that, "This is the language of a country with few military ambitions."  However, the New Zealand list is unhelpful in terms of identifying the specific trends in the regional security environment which Wellington is trying to encourage (and thus in helping to determine what sort of strategy is most appropriate to help achieve these ends).
This is not to deny that regional security occupies an important place in Wellington's thinking: it is one of the three main planks of the defence policy established by the new National Party government in the 1991 White Paper. The thinner 1997 White Paper confirmed these three pillars as:
* Defending New Zealand against low-level threats, such as incursions into New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and terrorism.
* Contributing to regional security, which includes maintaining key defence relationships with Australia and the FPDA partners -- Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore.
* Being a good international citizen by playing a part in global security efforts, particularly peacekeeping. 
Few New Zealanders (or observers from further afield) are likely to object to these wholesome goals, but the breadth of their formulation does not make it easy to generate a specific regional security strategy. On the one hand, because almost every defence capability can conceivably make a "contribution to regional security", this approach does little to help drive important force structure choices,  and in general to encourage clear linkages between policy objectives and capability requirements.
On the other hand, the regional security objective is just one part of a very comprehensive threesome which sets up an asymmetry between its influence and New Zealand's stated security interests. Soon after the publication of the 1991 White Paper, Defence Secretary Gerald Hensley explained that New Zealand's strategy "has to be what General de Gaulle called tous azimuths [sic] or omni-directional".  Observers who might have wondered whether mid-century France was up to this task would certainly raise questions about its suitability for New Zealand during the 1990s.
With the three-pillared approach, regional security gets listed as a priority, but it is not laid out as a priority over other commitments. Yet, there may be good reasons why regional security should occupy a more privileged position. For example, none other than Defence Secretary Hensley told the New Zealand Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee in May 1997 that all three "pillars" of New Zealand's defence policy "are important parts of our defence planning, but regional security is the most demanding in terms of our force structure. In practice regional security provides the capabilities from which we meet the other two."  One might therefore have expected Wellington to follow Canberra's lead in developing a much stronger regional security emphasis. The next section provides some potential explanations for why this step has not yet been taken.
Factor One: New Zealand's Distance from the Main Regional Action
In comparison to its trans-Tasman neighbour, New Zealand lies at a greater distance from major developments in the Asia-Pacific, and is thus less vulnerable in a direct sense to any significant deterioration in the regional security environment. If Paul Dibb was able to argue that Australia possesses a "sea and air gap"  with respect to its near northern neighbours, then New Zealand might be said to have a "sea and air chasm". Australia's interest in developments throughout the Indonesian archipelago and Papua New Guinea are thus more compelling, as are its memories of vulnerability during World War II,  and its recent experience of coping with sea-borne refugees from less secure and less affluent parts of the wider region.
This perceptual difference is also found in the way the two countries tend to assess the regional security environment. On the whole, Canberra tends to be somewhat more sensitive and pessimistic about changes in the security climate. For example, in a newspaper interview, Prime Minister John Howard noted that Australia's defence posture was being reassessed because "the region, by dint of global changes ... is potentially less stable".  However, referring to Australian perceptions as "decidedly gloomy", New Zealand's Minister of Defence, Mark Burton, has suggested that "we are dealing with an environment that is less predictable and more complex, but not necessarily more dangerous". 
In other words, while for Australia a strong regional security emphasis is only to be expected, for New Zealand it is more a matter of choice. This is not to deny the increasing sense of New Zealand's membership of an Asia-Pacific community. This is reflected in New Zealand's commitment to the APEC forum and the priority which was attached to hosting the 1999 summit in Auckland. It is also to be found in the ongoing recognition of the importance of regional markets and of contributing to regional security dialogue through such auspices as the ASEAN Regional Forum. Nevertheless, while all of the economic, political, cultural and people-to-people linkages between New Zealand and the rest of the Asia-Pacific may be encouraging a sense of New Zealand's regional identity,  these have not been sufficient to completely undermine the sense of distance in security terms.
Factor Two: Would a Regional Focus be Isolationist?
The election of the centre-right National Party government in 1990, and the subsequent publication of the 1991 Defence White Paper, saw a strong emphasis placed on the breadth of New Zealand's security interests. These were often linked by policy-makers to the spread of New Zealand's economic interests as a global trading nation. This approach had considerable appeal in a post-Cold War environment where increasing emphasis was being placed on the search for prosperity rather than for security per se. It also helped to justify New Zealand's contributions to regional security (especially in terms of defence expenditure) on the basis of the economic benefits which were being obtained from a stable and increasingly prosperous region.
This approach, however, also reflected the political context which is vital to understanding the evolution of the defence debate in New Zealand. In particular, the 1991 White Paper was an attempt to distance the new government from the Labour Party's somewhat controversial defence policy, which had been set out in the review of 1987. This earlier policy had been drawn up in the wake of the breakdown in New Zealand's security relationship with Washington, a schism which the National Party was keen to reverse.
The 1987 review is especially relevant for the purposes of this article because of its central emphasis on "the preservation of New Zealand's security, that of the island states for which [it is] responsible".  This approach can be interpreted as an attempt to build a regional security strategy (or perhaps a sub-regional strategy) for New Zealand. This was based on what was called "our direct area of strategic concern", which included "New Zealand itself, the Pacific islands, Australia and Antarctica". 
However, for the incoming National Party government, and for many members of the defence establishment, the sense of "region" involved here appeared to be far too narrow. Labour's attempts to emphasize New Zealand's defence self-reliance, and the importance of trans-Tasman defence links were not enough to save this approach. In place of this apparently "isolationist" concentration on New Zealand's immediate region, the 1991 White Paper presented a much more inclusive (or "omni-directional") approach, paying special emphasis to the value of New Zealand's traditional security partnerships.
Factor Three: New Zealand's Wider International Credentials
By emphasizing the breadth of New Zealand's security interests, the incoming National Party government could demonstrate its commitment to some of the global security efforts which were important to Washington. This became even more significant once it had read the political writing on the wall and had endorsed the antinuclear legislation (which for the United States continued to be the main obstacle to restoring the old links under ANZUS).
This is not to deny that New Zealand has a long tradition of deploying its forces to faraway places. There is something of a domestic expectation that the NZDF should be involved in peace support missions. But deployments during the 1990s, to Somalia, Bosnia, and the Persian Gulf, can be explained at least partially by the National Party government's desire to prove New Zealand's continuing good faith to its traditional allies. In early 1998, for example, it was able to demonstrate these credentials when it responded positively to Washington's request for support in the crisis over Iraq's continuing non-cooperation with the United Nations weapons inspection regime. 
As most of these important multinational activities took place away from the Asia-Pacific region, they did not do much to encourage a regional security focus for New Zealand. Indeed, it might be argued that the very absence of a strong security relationship with the United States has prevented New Zealand from participating in some of the most significant multinational military exercises in the Asia-Pacific, such as the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC),  although at the same time this absence only increased the significance of the FPDA in Wellington's eyes.
The same sort of international (rather than regional) flavour also applied for much of the 1990s to the peacekeeping missions which New Zealanders are so keen to support. Before the recent missions in Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) and East Timor, regional peacekeeping opportunities were few and far between, with the exception of Cambodia. Even in the latter case, the scale of New Zealand's involvement and the sense of distance from mainland Southeast Asia meant that this deployment was unlikely to be enough to generate a regional security focus.
Factor Four: The Separation of South Pacific from Asia-Pacific
An appropriate regional security strategy for New Zealand would incorporate Wellington's interests in the South Pacific and the most proximate parts of Pacific Asia. Yet, in policy statements and speeches made by New Zealand's policy-makers, the "Asia-Pacific region" and the "South Pacific" have tended to receive separate and almost unconnected treatment. 
It is not difficult to understand some of the reasons for such a bifurcation. In security terms, at least before the Asian crisis and the political changes in Indonesia, one might have drawn a clear distinction. On the one hand, in the wider Asia-Pacific the main security issues during the 1990s were the product of interactions between the major powers (especially in Northeast Asia). On the other hand, in the South Pacific, the security agenda was dominated by domestic political issues, economic vulnerability, and environmental challenges, such as sea-level rise. The economic frailty of most South Pacific countries stood in rather direct contrast to the economic miracles in pre-crisis Asia, and this only increased the gulf in their respective importance to New Zealand in trading terms. These gaps did little to help generate notions of an integrated Asia-Pacific region (including the South Pacific) whose constituent parts were faced by common opportunities and challenges.
Moreover, even though New Zealand took steps during the 1990s to encourage a number of South Pacific countries towards greater economic self-reliance, there was still a special sense of sub-regional obligation on Wellington's part, which is not to be found in its relations with the wider Asia-Pacific. New Zealand's responsibility for the defence of the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau is a case in point here, but so too are the special connections between New Zealand and other Polynesian countries. In this context, developing a regional security strategy which straddles both the South Pacific and the nearer parts of East Asia is not as easy as it sounds.
Factor Five: Is Asia-Pacific Security New Zealand's Game?
There are also questions about what role New Zealand can and should play in the wider Asia-Pacific security environment. If, for instance, a regional security strategy means a strong emphasis on great power security relations, tensions and crises, it is not an easy or uncontroversial task to determine what New Zealand is best placed to contribute, especially in defence terms.
One possible limitation here is that some of the logic behind New Zealand's regional defence commitments during the 1950s and 1960s no longer applies. Thirty-five years ago, it could be argued that under Britain's leadership, New Zealand had a joint responsibility with Australia to provide for the security of newly independent Southeast Asian Commonwealth states -- Singapore and Malaysia. In this sense, New Zealand was a provider, or at least a shaper, of regional security. Since the early 1970s, however, New Zealand's role and self-perception has changed.
New Zealand is now more aware that as a small country of under four million people at the southern end of the South Pacific, it is more often than not a consumer of the security which others (increasingly East Asian states) are providing.  This makes it even more important for Wellington to avoid assuming that it knows what is best for the region. It has been many decades since New Zealand prime ministers thought of their country as a sort of British outpost in the region, and today's leaders are even less keen than John Howard's Australian government to be portrayed as Washington's regional deputy.
There are also practical obstacles to a strong role in the furthest reaches of the wider region. The small size of the NZDF and doubts over its ability to work in a multi-threat environment raise questions about what New Zealand could contribute if any one of the region's major hotspots were to erupt. (Analysts commonly list these scenarios as including conflict breaking out on the Korean peninsula, an escalation of tensions across the Taiwan Strait, and conflict in the South China Sea.) New Zealand's involvement in preventing or responding to such developments would certainly have to be in the context of fitting into a coalition with other larger powers. Since the United States would be the most likely leader of such a coalition, questions remain about New Zealand's ability to participate, although the Clinton Administration's willingness to engage in one-off defence co-operation with New Zealand, as in the case of East Timor, may have opened a new door in this area. 
Secondly, such a role is not uncontroversial because of domestic political differences over the wisdom of New Zealand's involvement in military activities in the wider Asia-Pacific region. While New Zealanders support peacekeeping missions far and wide, the same support might not be guaranteed for a higher instensity defence engagement in the region.  This reluctance may well be interlaced with New Zealanders' rather lukewarm support of major defence capabilities, such as the ANZAC frigate project, which might be called on in such circumstances. Without firmer public support, it may not be easy to build a regional security strategy, at least one which emphasizes New Zealand's role in Pacific Asia.
The reluctance in some quarters to ascribe to what might be called "traditional" regional security commitments in the Asia-Pacific might be seen in the work of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Select Committee. On the one hand, in its earlier report on New Zealand's Place in the World and New Zealand's Role in Asia-Pacific Security, the Committee noted that New Zealand's continuing interests in a favourable regional security environment was an important part of the country's external policy. Indeed, this report goes some way towards the establishment of a comprehensive statement on regional security for New Zealand.
However, these regional security considerations were given less prominence in the Committee's final report on its high-profile Defence Beyond 2000 inquiry. This is significant because it is this second report which deals more directly with equipping the NZDF in carrying out the tasks which are required of it, and which places less emphasis on the softer tools of policy such as trade negotiations and multilateral diplomacy.
In this context, the unwillingness of National Party members on the Committee to endorse the final Defence Beyond 2000 report is quite significant.  One of the major justifications for this decision was the assessment by government Members of Parliament that the report did not place sufficient emphasis on the need for capabilities such as combat aircraft and additional frigates, which they saw as important parts of a credible regional security contribution.
Factor Six: Keeping Options Open
This dissenting opinion did not, however, translate into support for the notion that regional security deserves absolutely top priority for New Zealand. Such a commitment would be out of place for a government which throughout the 1990s had emphasized the global spread of New Zealand's interests, the uncertainty of the post-Cold War security environment, and the need for the NZDF to offer the government options to deal with a correspondingly wide range of potential contingencies. In this context, identifying regional security as the foremost priority (rather than as one pillar among three) would close down much needed options. For example, a regional security-first approach would thus be inappropriate should New Zealand continue to be called on to offer support for a range of extra-regional contingencies.
East Timor: A Boost for New Zealand's Regional Security Involvement?
Until recently, the widespread enthusiasm in New Zealand for peacekeeping activities has tended to be an argument against a regional security focus. For example, there is not much doubt that spending valuable dollars on sending peacekeepers to Bosnia under the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was a higher priority for most New Zealanders than sending frigates to Southeast Asia for FPDA exercises. The argument that countries like New Zealand, which benefit from regional economic prosperity, must also contribute to the regional security which underpins it has hardly taken off.  Repeated warnings from senior National Party politicians that New Zealand could ill-afford to be viewed by others as a free-loader on defence matters have not struck an especially sensitive public nerve. International humanitarian intervention has seemed more important than regional stability.
Nevertheless, fragmentation in parts of the region which are relatively proximate to New Zealand (and much closer to its closest neighbour, Australia) may be reducing potential strains between this historical tendency towards internationalism and New Zealand's regional security interests. This convergence was already evident in the leading role taken by New Zealand in the Bougainville peace process, both at the diplomatic level and in terms of the NZDF's commitments to the Truce Monitoring and Peace Monitoring Groups on the island.  The convergence has been strengthened by developments in East Timor, which have brought the global issue of humanitarian intervention closer to home. As "the largest deployment by the New Zealand Defence Force since Korea",  East Timor represents an especially significant focus of effort for New Zealand.
Defence commentators within New Zealand have warned against the tendency for East Timor to be viewed as a model for all that the NZDF will do in the future.  However, this does not necessarily mean that New Zealand's role in Bougainville and East Timor are one-off affairs, or that they are somehow no more significant than any one of the wide range of regional contingencies that New Zealand may face in future years. It can be argued that they help to represent a pattern in at least two aspects.  First, the responses to them are local manifestations of what Coral Bell has termed "cosmopolitan norms", which are "  increasingly replacing traditional "realist nationalist norms Secondly, and more significantly, together with concerns about instability in the Solomon Islands, developments in East Timor and Bougainville highlight the internal security challenges faced by several countries occupying what might be called the Melanesian arc. 
This arc is really the bridge between the South Pacific and the wider Asia-Pacific region, and thus a vehicle for integrating New Zealand's sometimes disparate regional security interests. Moreover, these security problems owe more to internal political tensions than to interstate rivalries between great powers, and they lend themselves to the peace operation roles which are at the top of many New Zealanders' lists of jobs which they want the Defence Force to do.  This conjunction was expressed aptly by Jenny Shipley who, as Prime Minister at the time of New Zealand's commitment to INTERFET, noted that "in our region, just a few hours' flight to the north of us, we have our own Kosovo". 
The NZDF's concentration on East Timor and Bougainville reduces the need for defence policy to distinguish between New Zealand's contributions to regional security, on the one hand (the second pillar in the 1990s strategy), and to global collective security such as international peacekeeping, on the other (the third pillar). Moreover, focusing on the Melanesian arc as the interface between the South Pacific and East Asia helps set a middle ground between the rather narrow regional security policy outlined in the 1987 White Paper and the seemingly too wide security interests outlined in the policy since the 1991 White Paper.
At least at a conceptual level, therefore, East Timor, Bougainville and any other nearby contingencies may provide the basis for a more serious look at building a sustainable and responsible regional security strategy for New Zealand. This is not to say that such a strategy would be risk-free, especially if it encourages New Zealand decision-makers to commit the NZDF to security situations in the region which are escalating quickly. It is also possible that the degree of regional fragmentation may turn out to be far greater than local coalitions of the willing can deal with. By the same token, if the establishment of such a regional security strategy concentrates New Zealand minds on the specific defence capabilities and resources which New Zealand needs most, it may also reduce the prospect that New Zealand will be caught short in a future operation.
The New Government: Whither Regional Security?
The East Timor deployment was not the only major development during the second half of 1999 which had implications for New Zealand's approach to regional security. In November 1999, New Zealand voters brought into power a centre-left coalition government led by the Labour Party's Helen Clark. This transfer of power promises a major shake-up of New Zealand's defence policy, given the new government's endorsement of the main findings of the Select Committee's final Defence Beyond 2000 report.
The new administration has been quick to begin this process, having already cancelled its predecessor's plan to acquire F-16 aircraft from the United States as replacements for the Royal New Zealand Air Force's ageing A-4 Skyhawks. Prime Minister Clark has challenged advocates of an air strike capability to make stronger arguments for its retention. In general, Labour Party leaders have signalled their intention to place the main emphasis on enhancing those defence capabilities associated with the deployment and operation of land-based forces engaged in peace support roles.
While East Timor has generated the most obvious demands for such capabilities, this does not necessarily mean that regional security goes automatically to the top of the pile. On the one hand, the internationalist mood is still clearly alive in Labour's approach to security issues. Materials prepared for the 1999 election campaign confirm a commitment to international peacekeeping,  and the new government has already demonstrated its commitment to re-energizing the global campaign for complete nuclear disarmament.
Like disarmament, human rights is another global cause favoured by both the Labour Party and its junior coalition partner, the Alliance Party. Any moves to strengthen New Zealand's stand on human rights violations could of course draw greater attention to developments within the region. Indeed, this issue has been at the forefront of the keen interest in East Timor's recent history on the part of leading Labour and Alliance politicians, including new Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Phil Gaff (Labour)  and new Disarmament Minister Matt Robson (Alliance). Whether this human rights commitment also complicates Wellington's regional security role will, to some extent, depend on the governments it wishes to work with closely.
On the other hand, Labour's election manifesto also reveals a strong emphasis on South Pacific security. This does not imply a wholesale return to the thinking behind the 1987 White Paper, but it does suggest that increasing attention will be paid to developments closer to home. There is also likely to be a strong push to develop an integrated approach to South Pacific security issues emphasizing prevention rather than cure, and a further integration of New Zealand's defence, development aid, and diplomatic linkages with Pacific countries. 
In this light, it should be noted that the new government's definition of the "region" and of "security" differs from those definitions which have underlaid New Zealand's traditional contributions to security in the wider Asia-Pacific region. For example, while Labour remains committed in its pre-election manifesto to fulfilling New Zealand's FPDA obligations and retaining Australia as New Zealand's closest defence partner, at the same time it argues that "[m]ilitary alliances such as ANZUS are no longer an appropriate means of meeting our region's post-Cold War security needs",  and has a clear preference for the multilateral security dialogue style of the ARF.
The new government is likely to be also interested in reports that Australia is proposing to concentrate its defence planning on potential operations in the so-called arc of instability rather than higher-level conflict further afield in Northeast Asia.  This might fit reasonably well with the types of operations the Labour--Alliance coalition has in mind for the NZDF.
It is thus still likely that under the new government New Zealand will place greater emphasis on at least some aspects of regional security in the post-East Timor period. It is open to question whether this will be enough to produce a regional security strategy for New Zealand. But even if such a statement emerges, it is unlikely to be music to the ears of those who continue to see regional security and stability in terms of the balance of power and the deterrence of potential hegemons.
Robert Ayson is Lecturer in International Relations at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
This article is a revised version of a paper presented in December 1999 to the Conference on "New Perspectives for a New Millennium", held at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
(1.) See Rouben Azizian, "The APEC Summit: From Acceleration to Consolidation", New Zealand International Review 24, no. 6 (November/December 1999): 3; and "Success against the odds", Dominion (Wellington), 8 September 1999, p. 8.
(2.) Figures taken from Hon. Mark Burton, "Opening Address", Defence Policy After East Timor (New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Wellington, 17 February 2000), p. 1.
(3.) For the announcement, see Hon. Mark Burton, "NZ Commitment to East Timer", Press Release, 23 December 1999. Updates on New Zealand's contribution are available at [less than]www.army.mil.nz/ops/easttimor_now.cfm[greater than].
(4.) See "Troops transfer to UN control", Dominion, 3 February 2000, p. 9.
(5.) See "Little bit of everything defence policy rejected", Dominion, 17 January 2000, p. 2.
(6.) For a recent update, see Report of the Ministry of Defence for the Year ended 30 June 1999, G.4 (Wellington: Ministry of Defence, 1999), p. 9. On earlier aspects of the CDR, see the collection of essays in Robert A. Hall, ed., Australia-New Zealand: Closer Defence Relationships (Canberra: Australian Defence Studies Centre, 1993).
(7.) For an excellent summary of these commitments, see Ian McGibbon, "Forward Defence: The Southeast Asian Commitment", in New Zealand in World Affairs, Volume II, 1957-1972, edited by Malcolm McKinnon (Wellington: NZIIA, 1991), p. 39.
(8.) See Mark Pearson, Paper Tiger: New Zealand's Part in SEATO 1954-1977 (Wellington: NZIJA, 1989).
(9.) On that dispute, see Malcolm McKinnon, Independence and Foreign Policy: New Zealand in the World Since 1935 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1993), pp. 278-301.
(10.) For an analysis of the FPDA from a New Zealand perspective, see Jim Rolfe, "Anachronistic Past or Positive Future: New Zealand and the Five Power Defence Arrangements", CSS Working Paper 4/95 (Wellington: Centre for Strategic Studies, New Zealand, 1995).
(11.) Some of New Zealand's regional bilateral linkages are discussed in Report of the Ministry of Defence, pp. 10-12.
(12.) See a number of essays in Mohan Malik, ed., Australia's Security in the 21St Century (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1999).
(13.) See Review of Australia's Defence Capabilities, Report to the Minister of Defence by Mr Paul Dibb (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1986), pp. 36-37, 48-49.
(14.) Australia's Regional Security, Ministerial Statement by Senator the Hon. Gareth Evans QC, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, December 1999, in Greg Fry, ed., Australia's Regional Security (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1991).
(15.) Department of Defence, Australia's Strategic Policy (Canberra: Department of Defence, 1997).
(16.) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, In the National Interest: Australia's Foreign and Trade Policy White Paper (Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 1997).
(17.) See ibid., pp. iii-viii, 1-3.
(18.) Department of Defence, Australia's Strategic Policy, p. 9.
(19.) Ibid., p. 8.
(20.) Ministry of Defence, The Shape of New Zealand's Defence: A White Paper (Wellington, 1997), p. 24.
(21.) James Rolfe, The Armed Forces of New Zealand (St Leonards NSW: Allen & Unwin), p. 25.
(22.) Ministry of Defence, The Shape of New Zealand's Defence: A White Paper (Wellington, 1997), p. 7.
(23.) On the need for choices, see "The Development of the 1991 Defence White Paper: Address to the Military Studies Centre, 23 June 1992", p. 5.
(24.) Ibid., p. 5; provided by the Ministry of Defence to Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee, Inquiry into Defence Beyond 2000 (I/DEF/MOD/29B).
(25.) "Remarks by the Secretary of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee", 22 May 1997, Evidence to New Zealand's Place in the World Inquiry (I/NZPW/MOD/2B), p. 1. These comments were reported in "Contribution to regional security urged", Dominion, 24 May 1997, p. 2.
(26.) Review of Australia's Defence Capabilities (1986), p. 50.
(27.) As noted in McGibbon, op. cit., pp. 13-14.
(28.) "Western grit and sights trained on region", Australian Financial Review, 6 April 2000, p. 18. For a New Zealand report on the Australian Prime Minister's comments, see Dominion, 7 April 2000, p. 4.
(29.) Burton, "Opening Address", p. 3.
(30.) See Don McKinnon, "New Zealand: An Engaging Country", Address to the Cabinet Club, Dunedin, 9 May 1997, pp. 7-8.
(31.) Defence of New Zealand: Review of Defence Policy (Wellington: Government Printer, 1987), p. 5.
(32.) Ibid., 1987, p. 18.
(33.) For Prime Minister Jenny Shipley's assessment of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes, see New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 566, 18 February 1998, p. 6552.
(34.) For an American list of regional multinational exercises in which New Zealand's name is notable for its absence, see The United States Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region (Washington DC: Department of Defense, November 1998), p. 15.
(35.) See Ministry of Defence, The Shape of New Zealand's Defence: A White Paper (1997), pp. 13-17 (Asia-Pacific Region), p. 21 (South Pacific). For a more recent example, see Report of the Ministry of Defence for the Year ended 30 June 1999 (Wellington: Ministry of Defence, 1999), p. 5. For some attempts to draw linkages between New Zealand's approach to the Asia-Pacific and the South Pacific, see Inquiry into 'New Zealand's Place in the World' and 'New Zealand's Role in Asia-Pacific Regional Security', Report of the Foreign Affairs. Defence and Trade Committee, I.4B (Wellington: House of Representatives, 1997), pp. 34-35.
(36.) For a similar point in the context of Australia's approach to regional security, see Ramesh Thakur, "Australia's Regional Engagement", Contemporary Southeast Asia 20, no. 1 (April 1998): 19.
(37.) See "It's the big thaw: Clinton wants NZ in Timor war games", Dominion, 16 September 1999, p. 1.
(38.) A 1994 survey of New Zealanders' attitudes found that assistance in "training the armed forces of friendly Southeast Asian countries" was "the least popular of ten roles suggested for the New Zealand defence forces"; Stephen Levine, Paul Spoonley and Peter Aimer, Waging Peace Towards 2000 (Auckland: Foundation for Peace Studies, Aotearoa/New Zealand), pp. 109-11.
(39.) For their dissenting report, see "Government Members' (minority) report", in Inquiry into Defence Beyond 2000, Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, I. 4D (Wellington: House of Representatives, 1999), pp. 113-31.
(40.) See Ministry of Defence, The Shape of New Zealand's Defence (1997), p. 16.
(41.) See John Henderson, "Bougainville: The Uncertain Road to Peace", New Zealand International Review 24, no. 3 (May/June 1999]: 10-13.
(42.) Burton, "Opening Address", p. 1.
(43.) For the argument that "uncertainty in our strategic environment provides no guarantee that our response to East Timor will be the right one for a different future crisis", see "Foreword", Government Response to the Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, The Inquiry Into Defence Beyond 2000, A5 (1999). Similarly, Jim Rolfe has warned against the temptation to "extrapolate short-term events into long-term conclusions" in the light of New Zealand's commitment to East Timor, and "to think clearly about what, if anything, about this deployment is sui generis and what is more generally applicable". Jim Rolfe, "East Timor: The Way Ahead", New Zealand Defence Quarterly 27 (Summer 1999): 10.
(44.) On the potential for patterns in New Zealand's security policy, see Robert Ayson, "Strategic Uncertainty", New Zealand Army Journal 21 (July 1999): 41.
(45.) See Coral Bell, "Changing the Rules of International Politics", A US-CSCAP Newsletter 9 (February 2000), p. 3.
(46.) This does not extend as far as Paul Dibb's "arc of instability" which intriguingly not only includes a "balkanised Indonesia" and "a broken-backed Papua New Guinea", but also a "weak New Zealand". See Paul Dibb, David H. Hale, and Peter Prince, "Asia's Insecurity", Survival 41, no. 3 (Autumn 1999): 18.
(47.) On the unanimous cross-party support for the East Timor commitment, see "'Godspeed' as all parties back peace mission", Dominion, 18 September, p. 2.
(48.) New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 580, 17 September 1999, p. 19461.
(49.) New Zealand Labour Party, Labour on Defence, November 1999, at [less than]www.labour.org/.nz/InforCentre1/Policies/defencepool/.html[great er than].
(50.) For Mr Goff's comments while still an Opposition MP, see Phil Goff, "East Timor: Lessons and Implications", New Zealand International Review 24, no. 4 (July/August 1999): 2-5.
(51.) For the commitment to "conduct an inquiry into New Zealand's ongoing relationship with the Pacific to establish how best to assist future development", see New Zealand Labour Party, Foreign Affairs and Defence Policy Summary, November 1999, at [less than]www.labour.org.nz/InfoCentre1/Policies/foreignaffairs.html[great er than].
(52.) See Labour on Defence.
(53.) See "Trading blows: PM fears regional instability", Australian Financial Review, 6 April 2000, p. 1; and "Australia reviews army", Dominion, 22 March 2000, p. 6.…