New Zealand National Security: Challenges, Trends and Issues.

Author:Steff, Reuben

NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL SECURITY: Challenges, Trends and Issues

Editors: William Hoverd, Nick Nelson and Carl Bradley

Published by: Massey University Press and Massey Defence and Security Studies, Palmerston North, 2017, 304pp, $55.

This book offers a timely consideration of the key trends, issues and national security challenges facing New Zealand. Split into three parts, its scope is broad; it contains fifteen chapters by academics (mainly from Massey's Centre for Defence and Security Studies) and government practitioners. This approach is a fruitful one, as chapters that contextualise changing trends and consider some of the emerging 'big' national security questions are complemented by more practical-minded treatments that outline agency structures, operations and priorities.

In the introduction, Dr William Hoverd establishes the book's thematic basis. He explains that security, as concept and practise, has evolved since the end of the Cold War. In the context of a globalised international system, security is now fundamentally linked to a nation's global inter-connectedness: the state is no longer the alpha and omega, with non-state threats and inter-state finks multiplying. ISIS acts as an example: a threat that operates somewhat like a traditional state but also uses the IT revolution to spread its message and inspire attacks abroad, with attendant risks for New Zealand. Another key theme is that the New Zealand security sector has internalised and operationalised the conceptual widening of security. As such, a 'whole-of-government' approach and response to security issues is increasingly common.

Chapters by Professors Rouben Azizian and Aileen San Pablo-Baviera explain that China's growing economic heft and assertive policies are altering the Asia-Pacific regional order, bringing China into contention with the United States. Given the diverging vectors of Wellington's trading relationship with China and its security/intelligence finks with the United States, New Zealand's 'independent' credentials and ability to maintain equilibrium are at risk. There is no easy solution to this conflict of interest. The authors recommend that New Zealand adopt a proactive strategy to shape security architectures, and consider acting as an interlocutor of sorts to aid China and the United States to establish a common security agenda. While an attractive idea, in interviews a co-author (Waikato PhD candidate Francesca Dodd-Parr) and I conducted last year...

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