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New Zealand misses opportunity to fight racism

20 April 2009 Media Statement

New Zealand misses opportunity to fight racism


It is unfortunate that the New Zealand Government has let side issues override tackling racism and withdrawn from the UN Conference on Racism, Labour Associate Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“It is a shame that the rhetoric around Israel has overridden the important issues about racism,” Grant Robertson said

“In multilateral discussions there will be things said that we find unpalatable, but it is vital that we are at the table to ensure that New Zealand’s opposition to racism in any form is expressed at the highest levels.

“It is only by being involved that New Zealand can have a real influence. Refusing to attend will achieve nothing.

“Murray McCully needs to be careful that NZ continues to adopt an independent and principled approach to foreign affairs.

“New Zealand should not simply follow the actions of other countries in declining to attend; rather it should ensure it continues to follow our own path in foreign affairs rather than simply following along behind other countries.

“This decision, coming hard on the heels of NZ withdrawing its bid for the UN Human Rights Council, does not bode well for the continuation of an approach, which New Zealanders can be justifiably proud of,” Grant Robertson said.

ENDS

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