New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Chris Luxon, has hinted at the possibility of joining an expanded AUKUS defense pact while outlining a “non-negotiable” condition for participation. During his inaugural overseas visit since winning the October election, Luxon expressed appreciation for Australia’s decision to expedite citizenship pathways for approximately 670,000 New Zealanders residing in Australia.
In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Luxon emphasized the significance of the AUKUS pact, currently involving Australia, the US, and the UK, as crucial for preserving peace in the ever more turbulent Indo-Pacific region. He acknowledged the challenges of a complex global landscape, underscoring New Zealand’s commitment to actively contribute to the alliance with Australia.
However, Luxon clarified that New Zealand maintains its anti-nuclear stance, considering it a non-negotiable aspect. Despite this, he expressed interest in fostering greater interoperability between the respective defense forces of New Zealand and Australia, particularly exploring the second pillar of the AUKUS arrangement, which involves jointly developing advanced military technologies. Luxon sees potential opportunities for New Zealand to participate in this aspect of AUKUS and leverage new technologies for mutual benefit.