It is often held that New Zealand punches ‘above its weight’ in many a competition, whether it’s good or bad to be the winner. Assertions bringing this cliché to mind are not difficult to locate. Whether in the context of sporting achievements or important strategic partnerships, we often hear that New Zealand is one of the best pound-for-pound punchers around.
This is just as well, because in the international political arena, weight class is hardly to this country’s advantage. New Zealand, like other small countries, has a very limited ability to affect global politics through the use of its resources alone. Small countries the world over usually understand this reality. Some choose to look inward, keeping international engagement to a minimum. Some make themselves champions of regional cooperation. And some attempt to stand out by cultivating a reputation for doing more than their fair share of ‘do-gooder politics’: contributing to international efforts that have a moral or ethical flavour to them.