1 Feb 2024

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns 'negative global trends' are accelerating

4:04 pm on 1 February 2024
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has warned its new minister Aotearoa's security environment is deteriorating, with greater security challenges and instability for the country and New Zealanders abroad.

In a briefing to Winston Peters, it identified some of the urgent matters he would need to take into account in the first 100 days of the new government.

One of the first tasks was the consideration of two Middle East Defence deployments and three Middle East and Africa support operations.

Peters was also told state sovereignty was being undermined, most egregiously through Russia's invasion of Ukraine - creating an increasingly volatile environment.

The ministry said consular demands were growing and becoming more complicated, requiring greater planning for New Zealanders overseas.

The briefing said the Covid-19 pandemic and response had profoundly disruptive effects.

This is one of a number of briefings to incoming ministers released on Thursday. Read more:

"It accelerated and exacerbated many of the existing negative global trends, including greater inequality, declining development progress in some parts of the world and worsening poverty and hunger."

MFAT said the world was less prosperous, less secure and less free.

Of other concern was the exponential pace and scale of technological change. It said while there were both positive and negative effects, these technologies sat outside current frameworks and developed faster than governments were able to understand and regulate them.

The ministry also warned Peters that distrust in some societies was being further fuelled by misinformation, disinformation and foreign interference. This further complicated the international environment as leaders prioritised domestic policies and issues, rather than international cooperation.

It also said that created an increased risk that external operators will use domestic discontent for malign purposes.

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