I recently travelled to New York to help with our bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2015 and 2016. I met with close to 30 ambassadors as well as people I knew from my international work before entering Parliament. I did so at the request of Foreign Minister Murray McCully because our bid is a bipartisan one.
National and Labour are working together because winning a council seat is in New Zealand’s best interests.
Great to see.
It’s in our interests because we have a responsibility to contribute to the peace of mankind. And when it comes to preventing or resolving conflict, no more important body exists.
It’s in our interests to ensure regional security exists so that we can safely engage with the rest of the world. A seat on the council gives us ongoing contact with the world’s most powerful actors and economies.
And it’s a stage upon which New Zealand can showcase that we’re not just clean and green, but clean, green, honest and influential.
I believe having New Zealand on the council is also important to the UN.
New Zealand’s connection with the UN goes back to its very beginning when the first Labour Government signed us up as a founding member in 1945.
The views of the five powerful permanent members must be balanced by other members of the world community.
The Pacific is increasingly important in the Asian century. Our geography sees us as an important bridge between the US and China and so our views carry significant weight.
We’re not the puppet of any master: we are independent and honest.
And we have experience in resolving conflict, including leading from the front in brokering the end to civil war in Bougainville.
Which was primarily done by Wairarapa MP John Hayes, when he worked at MFAT.
I remember very clearly last time New Zealand was on the UN Security Council. It was 1993-1994 and I was working in Rwanda as head of Save the Children, reuniting 3000 children with surviving family members after the genocide.
In the Security Council, New Zealand took the most forceful stand against the unfolding genocide than any other country.
This time around, we are competing with Turkey and Spain for two available spots. They have large followings in the Muslim and Spanish speaking worlds respectively.
Our greatest asset is our reputation.
I think Turkey is probably a slam dunk for one of the spots. So effectively it is between us and Spain at the moment. They do start with a significant pool of support but their economy is in the crap which weakens them.