Hon Simon Bridges: Why foreign affairs and how he sees the world?

A discussion with the Hon Simon Bridges National's foreign affairs spokesperson.

Today’s episode is from a discussion earlier this week with the Hon Simon Bridges - National's new foreign affairs spokesperson.   

It's reported that Bridges held out for the foreign affairs portfolio after being replaced as leader.  So we talk about what his motivation was for wanting foreign affairs, his views on the geopolitical landscape, how NZ should navigate through these uncertain times… we talk a lot about China, US-China tensions, NZ-China relations - and the importance of both protecting our interests and safeguarding our values. 

During the discussion you’ll hear different voices and questions coming in from our board and advisory board members.  I think it all adds up to quite an interesting early view into how Simon Bridges is thinking about the portfolio and how he is likely to position from here on some of the big issues in the portfolio. 

Some key takeaways: 
  • He says that "walking the line" will become challenging in an increasingly volatile and dangerous world.  
  • He makes the point, unapologetically, that the Key government was focused on trade first and foremost - but the times have changed. Trade of course is still important but the geopolitics component is becoming more important. 
  • National’s positioning on China has not changed, rather the Chinese position globally has changed.  
  • In respect of Hong Kong and the extradition agreement - he says we should have moved quicker, in line with Canada, Britain and Australia - to condemn the national security law because it is the right thing to do rather than to keep in step with traditional partners.
  • Multilateralism is at the core of his thinking and that New Zealand should continue to be pushing into relationships with like minded nations.   
  • The US is still the powerhouse in innovation, creativity, technology and that New Zealand must be close to that. 
It will interesting to talk to Bridges again in 6 months time and track his thinking as he grows in the role and the global circumstances continue to change.

Host biography:
Jordan Small: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordancsmall/

Guest biography:
Hon Simon Bridges: https://www.parliament.nz/en/mps-and-electorates/members-of-parliament/bridges-simon/

For comments and feedback:
Email: thefridaydownload@nzuscouncil.org
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Website: nzuscouncil.org

Credits – opening and closing music:
Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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