121 Telegram from Ministry of Foreign Affairs to New Zealand High Commission in Canberra

Wellington, 6 May 1980

No 1439. CONFIDENTIAL ROUTINE

A/NZ Economic Relations: The States

Thanks your 11621.

In some respects the low level of understanding and interest on the part of the States reported in your message may not be too bad a thing from our point of view. We could hardly expect the States, even if they were prepared to make encouraging noises about A/NZ cooperation on most general level, not to reflect political pressures put on them by such lobbies as the dairy one. That this does not seem to have happened is welcome. Indeed, in the light of this response, we wonder how much further the Federal authorities will now feel obliged to take consultations with the States.

  1. We are inclined to suggest therefore, that posts concerned2 continue to take a low-key attitude and avoid dialogue with the State authorities at least until the intentions of the Federal Government about further consultations are clarified.
  2. At the same time, we recognise that a continued lack of understanding of the facts of the New Zealand Government position could breed misapprehensions on the part of the States, particularly as the election nears. We are now giving thought to how we might best brief posts on the exercise in case the need develops for them to play a supportive role. No doubt this consideration will influence the timing and nature of the annual Heads of Post meeting.

[ABHS 950/Boxes1221-1226, 40/411 Part 27 Archives New Zealand/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]