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Pacific diplomacy


The Pacific Ocean is a vast area with scattered tiny islands trying to maintain viability as nation states. New Zealand will spend $1bn on Pacific development over the period 2015-2018. Nevertheless Pacific islands often struggle with a combination of highly hierarchal aristocracies, poor accountability, and dubious economic prospects. In some places Chinese or Indian people introduced in colonial times engender resentment among indigenous islanders. This can create tensions which lead to challenges to civil stability.

The Pacific ocean is also a source of considerable friction over resources. While Pacific nations claim very large exclusive economic zones many do not have the resources to patrol them. This creates friction with fishing fleets from larger richer nations.

The Pacific is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. This includes volcanism, earthquake, tsunami, and cyclones. With limited economic depth Pacific economies are less robust than those of larger nations. This in turn means an adverse event can have serious economic and fiscal implications for long periods of time creating extended periods of vulnerability.

New Zealand contributes the following via defence to the Pacific

 Disaster Facilities Examples
 Cyclone RNZS Canterbury, NH90, Engineers, P-3K Orions, C-130H Fiji 2016, Vanuatu 2015
 Tsunami RNZS Canterbury, NH90, Engineers, P-3K Orions, C-130H Samoa 2014
 Volcanoes P-3K Orion Vanuatu 2009, Tonga 2014
 Civil disorder Infantry, Police, UH-1 Iroquois, C-130H, B757 Solomon Islands, Timor Leste
 Over fishing P-3K Orion Tokelau

The ability of New Zealand to rapidly respond to calls for assistance by Pacific neighbours is a key role for New Zealand's defence diplomacy in the South Pacific.

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