AuthorPatman, Robert
PositionBook review


Author. Stephen Hoadley Published by: New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and NZ-US Council (second edition, updated and expanded), 2016, 270pp, $40.

This book is an authoritative, comprehensive and impressively detailed account of the New Zealand-United States bilateral relationship over the last century. Diligently researched and clearly written, Stephen Hoadley's updated and expanded volume sheds considerable light on what he persuasively argues is an extremely important but often under-valued relationship.

New Zealand United States Relations seeks to illuminate both the multiple links and differences between these countries. According to the author, the book is intended to remedy a situation in which this bilateral relationship has been under-studied and subject to mutual misperceptions and scepticism, particularly in New Zealand. Drawing eclectically on the conceptual insights of realism, dependency, idealism, complex interdependence, asymmetrical negotiations and foreign policy analysis as relevant, Hoadley uses an extensive range of primary and secondary sources to systematically bring together 'salient facts about the NZ-US relationship in the broad sectors of defence, diplomacy, and economic interchange'.

This research effort enables the author to advance some key arguments. Hoadley demonstrates that the bilateral relationship has been remarkably resilient. While major differences have arisen over issues such as New Zealand's refusal of nuclear-powered ship visits, Wellington's refusal to back the US-led invasion of Iraq and disputes over dairy, lamb and intellectual property, these tensions have been been 'more than offset by convergence in values and styles, interests and policies'. In the words of the author, the enduring civility of the New Zealand--United States relationship 'is a notable achievement'. And given that this relationship has been good for New Zealand and for the United States, particularly since the rapprochement of the 2000s, Hoadley believes that any 'abandonment of the NZ--US relationship by either party is unthinkable'.

New Zealand United States Relations has a number of real strengths. First, it provides a clear-eyed and detailed insight into how domestic politics shaped the non-nuclear security policy of the fourth Labour government in the mid-1980s. This development, it should be recalled, had momentous consequences and led to a major rift in the New...

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