Considering the sensitivity of countries like China about human rights, Nanaia Mahuta has some risky plans for her second year as New Zealand's Foreign Minister.
She wants to come up with a framework to give more coherence to the way New Zealand responds to various issues of human rights abuses internationally.
Coherence and consistency may not be as easy as it sounds.
Countries never forget a slight against them. Governments have to pick their diplomatic battles, case by case. They are influenced by the relationship with the offending country, how powerful they are, the potential for backlash and who else is in the fight.
Mahuta is not afraid of a battle, as she has shown this week - ploughing ahead with the amalgamation of council water assets despite overwhelming opposition from councils.
She is clearly on top of her Local Government portfolio but then she has held the portfolio for six-and-a-half years, over the Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern governments.
In Foreign Affairs, she is a relative novice with just one year under her belt and constrained by Covid-19.
And Mahuta's goal to set a human rights framework could be risky; as China shows on a regular basis and as Turkey showed this week, criticisms about countries' human rights can quickly lead to a diplomatic crisis or reprisal.
New Zealand's ambassador in Ankara, Wendy Hinton, was among 10 ambassadors threatened with expulsion by Turkey's increasingly authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for issuing a statement calling for the release from prison of a Turkish citizen being held in relation to an attempted coup in 2016.
The diplomatic crisis was averted when the same 10 ambassadors confirmed their adherence to article 41 of the Vienna Convention, which deals with non-interference by diplomats in the affairs of the host state.
China is famously prickly and has responded to criticism from Australia with trade reprisals and a suspension of high-level contact.
But Mahuta is firm about her second year: "My priorities are to ensure that we have a strong architecture that informs the coherence of our approach to human rights," she said in an interview with the Herald.
She appears to have has survived her first year in the job without any deterioration in the relationship with China. She made a major speech on China drawing parallels between the taniwha and the dragon, although the meaning may have been lost in translation.
She has joined public criticism of China on several issues and drawn admonition from a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman but that happens so frequently it has lost its impact.
Mahuta registered concern at the crackdown in Hong Kong where several current legislators were banned from standing again, and at the "severe human rights abuses" of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
But Mahuta is confident in her view that the criticism has not impacted on the wider relationship with China (which imported $20 billion of NZ goods and services last year).
"There are a number of areas we've signalled that we cannot agree that we do not agree, and those areas ... have been on Xinjiang, on Hong Kong and it has been very clear that our position has not infringed the broader context of the relationship.
"However it has certainly impacted on how we continue to highlight what causes us the greatest of concern and that is in the human rights area."
It is possible that Mahuta is one of the few western foreign ministers that has pleased Beijing lately. She explained why the New Zealand Government was not prepared to describe the Uighur situation as "genocide" in a parliamentary debate.
And in April, she eschewed the Five Eyes intelligence alliance as the go-to vehicle to issue statements about human rights in China.
It horrified hawks in allied countries who knew that China would - and did - take succour from an apparent division among the Five Eyes countries, the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
But it was also clear that the old friends had not prepared for the possibility that Jacinda Ardern's second-term Labour Government would differ to the way New Zealand First leader Winston Peters had conducted foreign affairs during its first term, in Coalition.
It has been more a change in emphasis than a change in values, but in a portfolio in which nuance is everything, a change in emphasis is significant.
Peters began his term with a Pacific Reset, a policy designed to step up engagement with and spending on the Pacific and in so doing, increase the importance of New Zealand's leadership in the region.
He unequivocally embraced traditional friends, including the Trump Administration, in a style that Labour's DNA prevents it from doing. He explicitly backed the US in the big power competition for dominance in the Pacific.
Mahuta and Labour is more inclined to multilateralism and processes for building wider support on gnarly issues. It is committed to Five Eyes but through its head, not its heart. And it is more interested in human rights and climate change than involving itself in great power rivalry.
Mahuta appears as concerned with the process of foreign policy development as with the policy itself.
As well as developing a framework for human rights responses, another of her plans is to improve the way in which the Government engage with NGOs - often strong advocates of human rights.
"One of the things I've seen as quite important is trying to understand where social licence-public sentiment is around foreign policy related issues," she said.
"We are a country that stands for open and transparent democracy and what does that mean in terms of the way in which we engage without our NGO voluntary sector in foreign policy? How can we do better in those areas?
"Those are areas that I would see myself trying to broaden and develop a lot more because I know I can bring value to that space and to that perspective."
Mahuta hosted Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in April but has not because of Covid-19 she has not travelled once in her year as Foreign Minister.
That is about to change; her first trip abroad will be to attend the Expo in Dubai next month where she is also likely to hold a series of bilaterals with other Foreign Ministers visiting the UAE.
She says the virtual platforms used during Covid-19 have led to a higher expectation of engagement by Foreign Ministers than there would be for face to face meetings.
Mahuta dismisses any suggestion that Australia saw New Zealand as kow-towing to China over Five Eyes. She would not comment on the punitive action Beijing has taken against Canberra.
"Australia is responsible for its own foreign policy and how it nurtures its relationships," said Mahuta. "For New Zealand, what we do know is that good strong relationships allow you to disagree."
She commended Peters for the Pacific Reset but said she has moved it on.
"I have re-oriented the position beyond reset to resilience, understanding that the biggest issue facing the Pacific is climate change."
The most difficult issue she had navigated was the evacuation of people from Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul.
One of her most rewarding issues was the swift reaction of the Government to the military coup in Myanmar in February - she also spoke at the pots and pans rally by Burmese locals at Parliament.
"We made decisions in advance of any other country on Myanmar and I'm very pleased about that.
"The other thing I'm very proud about are the way in which I've been able to articulate at the front end where I see the benefits of the New Zealand experience, especially in relation to indigenous issues - not to tell other nations what to do because we respect the sovereignty of other nations, but to give insight."
The Maori economy was moving upwards in excess of $50 billion and she might talk to the Dubai Expo about the reduction of inequity through indigenous inclusion and economic participation.
"By no means are we saying we are perfect but we are walking along a pathway where we can offer a lot of insight."
Key NZ relationships
Still New Zealand's closest friend but in a more professional sense than a familial sense. The Aukus security alliance with the US and Britain and their focus on the dominance of China in the region accentuates the drift between Australia and NZ. It matters to NZ, but much less. Australia and NZ still agree on more than they disagree but the differences run deep over the treatment of Kiwis in Australia, deportations of 501s and Australia washing its hands of an Aussie-raised Isis bride.
The year started with an upgrade of the FTA between China and NZ. How to approach the rise of China economically and militarily has become a defining issue for many countries, especially with Australia. When NZ is not in lockstep with its close friends, it is noticed. Nanaia Mahuta's public rejection of the Five Eyes alliance for condemnation of China caused a furore and pleased China. PM Jacinda Ardern placated friends a few days later by saying differences between the NZ and China systems – and the interests and values that shape those systems - were becoming harder to reconcile. Ironically, the Labour Government which wants to put more emphasis on China's human rights is seen as softer. Mahuta repeats like a mantra that NZ wants to relate to China in a way that is "respectful, predictable and consistent".
Jacinda Ardern has plans to advance the US relationship under Biden's Administration in a way she could not do with Trump's and in 2022 should get the first PM invitation to the White House in five years. Former Foreign Minister Winston Peters was the pointsman on the US last term and pushed hard for the elusive holy grail, an FTA. The US stars are realigning with NZ over its climate change policy and multilateralism, but not on trade. Mahuta has had limited contact with Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken.
There have been big developments in the relationship, due to the UK's greater engagement with the world after Brexit, personified in NZ by an exceptionally high-profile High Commissioner in Laura Clarke. An agreement in principle for a free trade agreement was announced last week, the second after Australia's and it is on track to join the CPTPP. Membership of the Aukus alliance reinforces its bid to be a power again in the region. The new Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, visited NZ last term as Trade Minister.
Much engagement has been about Covid-19 and the Cook Islands bubble. But it has been eventful for other reasons, not least Samoa's first woman Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa. Disastrously, at Mahuta's first meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum this year, five Micronesian members of the 18-member Pacific Islands Forum gave notice of their withdrawal because they failed to get their candidate elected as PIF secretary-general. James Shaw announced that half of the $1.3 billion in funding for climate change aid will go to the Pacific – although $300 million is from existing baselines.
Nanaia Mahuta's video meetings and phone calls with Foreign Ministers (FM) and others
November: Canada, Australia, United States, Britain, Tokelau, Cook Islands PM, South Korea, Niue.
December: Spain, Indonesia, Japan, Tonga PM, China, Vanuatu, Nauru Pres, Fiji PM, Australia.
January: Canada, United States.
February: Tuvalu PM, Pacific Islands Forum, Nauru Pres, Germany, Australia, Solomon Islands.
March: India, Singapore, Cook Islands PM, Sweden.
April: South Africa, Kiribati Pres, Australia.
May: France, South Korea, Thailand, Fiji Attorney General, EU.
June: China, US Interior Secretary.
July: Pacific Leaders and Japan, Pacific Island Forum Foreign Ministers.
August: Australia, Five Countries (Eyes) Ministers, Sri Lanka, Britain, Cambodia, Asean Ministers, Palestine Rep, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Britain.
Source: Ministerial diary