This article explores an important aspect of New Zealand's Cold War history—the impact of directives from Moscow on the Communist Party of New Zealand (CPNZ) until the dissolution of the Communist International (Comintern) in 1943. Drawing on the Comintern papers relating to New Zealand, the article largely reaffirms traditional interpretations of the Comintern. Although indigenous Communist parties operated in a specific local context that resulted in tensions between Bolshevik universalism and national specificity (the central dilemma of twentieth-century international Communism), they in the end functioned as compliant tools of Soviet foreign policy and Stalinist ideology. Although CPNZ officials did not openly cooperate with Soviet intelligence, the Comintern engaged in clandestine operations with New Zealand Communists. The CPNZ invariably deferred to Moscow, altered its policies to accord with Soviet objectives, aligned its policy to suit ideological pronouncements from the Comintern, kept Moscow informed of internal developments, and sought and received financial assistance from Moscow.

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