The MFAT (Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade) in New Zealand is the country’s
leading negotiator and advisor on trade and foreign
policies such as consular and diplomatic matters.
Through the NZAID (New Zealand Agency for
International Development), it also functions as the
prime adviser on development assistance matters.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also gives
legal advice on issues of international nature. In
matters of international concern, it is the
Government’s legal channel for communication to and
from other nations and international organizations.
Though its consular and diplomatic service, the Ministry is
tasked by the Government to ensure that the voice of New
Zealand is heard globally, that the economic and security
and interests of New Zealanders are protected and advanced,
that they contribute to poverty eradication globally, and
that the safety and rights of New Zealanders outside the
homeland are protected.
The primary role of the Ministry is to understand and
recognize trends, risks, and opportunities that affect New
Zealand, and make suggestions or recommendations to the
Government on the best ways to advance and protect the
well-being and interests of New Zealand. The Government, in
this way, contributes to the overall goal of turning New
Zealand into a vibrant, knowledge-based society and economy,
strengthened by the values of opportunity, fairness, and
security for everyone. During its yearly Statement of
Intent, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade evaluates
the global setting in which the New Zealand carries out its
It looks for prevailing trends and key movers and shakers
for change, seeking to recognize risks and opportunities
that may affect the country’s trade and foreign policy
objectives. The Statement then sets out the
broad initiatives which the Ministry plans to pursue
over the medium term to achieve its goals.
The nature of present-day challenges are
increasingly beyond boundaries, whether or not these
are brought on by the economic needs of
globalization, terrorism driven by ideology, mass
destruction weapons increase, demands on energy
resources and worldwide natural energy, abuses of
human rights, extreme poverty, or threats posed y
regions of failing or failed governments.
These factors are putting a large amount of pressure on all
nations, even New Zealand, to be better equipped and more
active globally for today’s fast changing and uncertain
Advancing and protecting the interests of New
Zealand requires the nation to sustain and develop
relationships with other foreign states and
organizations so that it can exert and build
influence on these nations to accommodate their
interests in the actions they take.
The MFAT does this
through persuasions, presence, and negotiation.
New Zealand’s resources involve an international network of
over fifty overseas consulates with legal accreditations to
over a hundred countries and many global organizations. Over
seven hundred New Zealanders and more than three hundred
overseas workers are employed by the Ministry in the city of
Wellington or outside the nation, with administrative,
policy, and specialist skills geared towards delivering and
developing specific goals and interventions to pursue the
interests of New Zealand.