The next Government may take a seat at the United Nations Security Council and a spot at the centre of global politics merely weeks after the election.

It will face some tough calls between the interests of our trade partners and principle.

I think we're entitled to know which way parties would go.

Since Labour signed the China trade deal in 2008, China has rapidly become our largest trading partner. Would National or Labour act against China at the Security Council if it is in breach of international law?


And speaking of trade: A massive pact could soon be signed by most of the biggest players in our region. Under what circumstances would parties refuse to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership? What would happen if we were not part of it?

Extremists are beheading and crucifying in an area from Syria to Iraq that's bigger than Britain. In Nigeria they are stealing school girls for slavery. Would we vote at the UN to intervene?

When Syria's Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons, would we vote at the UN to authorise bombing the slaughterer? The world failed to intervene last year and found that the opposite of intervention isn't peace. The violence spread to Iraq, and thousands more died.

Australia is dropping weapons to support the Kurds against the deranged Isis (Islamic State) death cult. Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten said, "Genocide is being perpetrated against defenceless people and we cannot co-operate with this evil by refusing to support the innocent."

Which side of this fight will New Zealand be on if we sit at the heart of global decision-making?

Will we support the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle developed in international law after the catastrophic failure to protect the weak in the Rwandan genocide in 1994? It requires the world to step in. Would we stand up for the right thing to do once again as we did last time we were on the Security Council?

Meanwhile, Australia is this week joining Nato as an "enhanced partner". Its armed forces will co-ordinate more with Nato, which leaves a huge question over what the role of our armed forces' co-ordination with Australia's will be.

Tough choices. Fortunately, there is a potential foreign affairs minister with world-class expertise at handling global crises. His name is David Shearer.