Positives for NZ in Biden presidency

Joe Biden holds up his son Hunter's hand, as they and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and...
Joe Biden holds up his son Hunter's hand, as they and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and their families celebrate onstage at his election rally, after the news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election over President Donald Trump, in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Reuters
A Joe Biden presidency could result in New Zealand’s ambitions in issues such as trade and climate change being advanced, a University of Otago political scientist says.

Robert Patman
Robert Patman
"Mr Biden has said he wants to restore America’s reputation overseas and regain respect," Prof Robert Patman said.

"I think that perhaps means rejoining the Paris Accord of climate change and acting more like a good international citizen than America has under Trump.

"That will be music to the ears of the Government in Wellington."

Successive New Zealand prime ministers have pursued closer economic relationships with the United States, but those initiatives have been on the backburner during the Trump Administration.

"We have managed formally correct relations with President Trump under Jacinda Ardern’s leadership, but there is certainly a major difference in world view between the Trump Administration [and New Zealand]," Prof Patman said.

"With Biden in the White House we will be hoping he can reinvigorate some of those international institutions such as the World Trade Organisation, which have been under the cosh under Mr Trump.

"I also think America will rejoice if Mr Biden does as he has hinted and takes the United States back into the World Health Organisation."

Mr Trump’s intransigence over accepting the election result was no surprise, and it would take time for the President and his supporters to come to terms with defeat.

"Decorum is not Mr Trump’s thing really," Prof Patman said.

"I don’t think he will bow out gracefully, but I do think he is going to have to bow out ... substantial numbers of Americans did vote for him and this was a close, competitive election, but Biden has won the popular vote by around 5million. which suggests to me that lawsuits will just not work — the margin is too great."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and vice-president elect Kamala Harris.

“The relationship between our two countries is strong, and I look forward to developing even closer relations,” Ms Ardern said.

During Mr Biden’s term as vice-president he visited New Zealand in 2016, the most senior US politician to do so since President Bill Clinton attended Apec in 1999.

“The campaign by the president-elect has also shown the shared interests we have in addressing global challenges like Covid-19 and climate change," Ms Ardern said.

“There are many challenges in front of the international community right now, the message of unity from Joe Biden positions us well to take those challenges on.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta paid special tribute to Senator Harris, who, she said, would bring unique attributes to the leadership.

"I anticipate that there will be continued warm conversations on areas of common interest like Covid-19, like trade, like the issue of global economic recovery," Ms Mahuta said.

"We enjoy our relationship with them. We want to continue to strengthen that relationship, and under a new regime there is opportunity for greater co-operation."

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