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Gratuitous insults undermine Security Council bid

Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

23 August 2012

Gratuitous insults undermine Security Council bid

New Zealand has a good chance of winning election to the Security Council at the end of 2014, but unnecessary and gratuitous insults from ministers, including John Key, are undermining our efforts, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Phil Goff.

In a speech to the Victoria International Leadership Programme, Phil Goff said becoming a non-permanent member of the Security Council is a huge opportunity for New Zealand.

“It puts us at the heart of international decision-making. It allows us to enhance our reputation and gives us the ability to influence international affairs for years to come.

“But it hardly helps to have the Prime Minister and Gerry Brownlee dishing out gratuitous insults to other countries, like Hungary and Finland. These kind of offensive comments made about any country are unnecessary and long remembered.

“They have engendered enormous resentment. Mr Key’s comments were described by Hungary’s ambassador to Kabul as ‘ill-advised, ill-informed and malicious’.

“We should instead be persuading those European countries of the strength of our friendship and our common values.

“We must show that we are proactive, committed and principled in what we do and that we are a good international citizen. We need to demonstrate that we will listen and can talk to both sides in any dispute or conflict. We must be seen to be active on issues of international concern and not simply on issues where we have our own direct interests.

“We have a big task ahead of us to win support from the 127 countries needed and are competing against much larger countries, Spain and Turkey. But we have the potential to fulfil a role as an honest broker, in the way that another small country, Norway, has done.

“Labour will be providing strong bipartisan support to the Government in its bid to win election to the Council. It is an opportunity for us to work together to put New Zealand in a position to help shape the world that we are part of,” said Phil Goff.

ENDS

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