Dr Anna Powles specialises in geopolitics and security in the Pacific Islands region. She is a Senior Lecturer with the Centre of Defence and Security Studies at Massey University, New Zealand, an Associate Scholar with the MacMillan Brown Center for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury, and in 2019 held a Senior Visiting Fellowship with the East-West Center, Honolulu. Her research is on New Zealand foreign and security policy in the Pacific and the geopolitical dynamics of the Pacific region. She is the chief investigator on a project on foreign interference in the Pacific and the New Zealand investigator on an Australian Research Council project on the Australia-New Zealand alliance in the Pacific (with Joanne Wallis). She is the author and editor of United Nations Peacekeeping Challenge (2015) and two forthcoming books on New Zealand policy and influence in the Pacific, and private security sector governance in the Pacific. Prior to joining Massey University, Anna spent over two decades working on security issues in Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
A reported pivot by special forces to the region raises questions about the role expected of Australia and New Zealand.
Views on China appear to be hardening in Wellington, and the next government will be pressed to find a policy balance.
Pacific island countries are well aware of strategic risks, and want the issues that worry them most to be in focus.