Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters suggests New Zealanders 'misled' about AUKUS military alliance

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is suggesting New Zealanders are being "misled" about the AUKUS military alliance. 

The Government is considering joining a second tier of the pact, involving the sharing of military technology. The topic is likely to come up when Peters prepares to meet the US' top diplomat in Washington this week. 

In New York on Wednesday, Peters posed with the UN's powerful boss - Secretary General Antonio Guterres - in another chance to criticise Security Council veto powers directly to the top.   

"New Zealand has never supported the veto powers," Peters said. 

A broken UN was part of Peters' speech there on Tuesday, as was the war in Gaza. 

But the Foreign Minister's tour isn't over yet. 

After a few days at the UN in New York, Peters will head south to the US capital, Washington DC, where he'll meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

It's there he's likely to discuss the AUKUS military alliance - the pact between Australia, the US and the UK - which will see Australia get nuclear submarines. 

New Zealand's interested in Pillar II of AUKUS which focuses on sharing advanced military technology - but there is no commitment yet. 

"Our job is to find out all the facts, all the aspects of what we're talking about and then as a country to make a decision," Peters said. 

He's worried others are already making their minds up on AUKUS, like former Prime Minister Helen Clark who said on X: "Concern building that #NZ's independent foreign policy is being ditched as NZ foreign & defence ministers go all in on #AUKUS." 

Peters responded: "On what could she have possibly based that statement?... And I'm saying to people, including Helen Clark, please don't mislead New Zealanders with your suspicions without any facts - let us find out find out what we're talking about." 

Peters' comments come as Japan is tipped to become the first Pillar II AUKUS member. Canada is now interested too. 

But while it might suit other countries, there is still skeptism as to whether it's the right fit for New Zealand - even if Aotearoa would have nothing to do with the "nuclear" aspects of the alliance. 

"It could still have the effect of blurring New Zealand's diplomatic brand globally and that's no small issue," international relations expert Robert Patman said. 

He said New Zealand already has strong relationships with AUKUS members and should be privy to some of the technology anyway. 

Those are factors sure to be on the mind of Peters as he makes his way to Washington.