Staying in Singapore?: New Zealand's third Labour government and the retention of military forces in Southeast Asia
McCraw, D. (2012). Staying in Singapore?: New Zealand's third Labour government and the retention of military forces in Southeast Asia. New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 14(1), 1-17.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7280
At the beginning of the 1970s, three Western countries – Britain, Australia and New Zealand – had military forces stationed in Singapore under the Five Power Defence Arrangements for the defence of Malaysia and Singapore. Shortly afterwards, Labour party governments were elected in all three countries, and the Australian and British governments, against the wishes of the Singapore government, withdrew their forces from the island nation. Only the New Zealand Labour government of Norman Kirk was prepared to keep its forces in Singapore, despite having pledged at the 1972 election to negotiate a date for withdrawal. This article considers the question of why the New Zealand government pursued a different policy from its allies in regard to troops in Singapore, a policy which was in stark contrast to its attitude towards New Zealand troops in Vietnam and Cambodia, and one which was not supported by a section of the Labour party membership. Since Australia’s withdrawal policy has recently been examined for the first time, it seems worthwhile, and timely, to explore the different priorities underlying the New Zealand Labour government’s policy towards troops in Singapore.
New Zealand Asian Studies Society (NZASIA)