The NZ UN Middle East resolution

November 2nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution that calls for Israel to stop building settlements in occupied territories and for the Palestinians to refrain from referring cases to the International Criminal Court.

The two-page draft also asks both sides to avoid provocative acts and not to question the “integrity or commitment of the other party or its leaders.”

Good to see the draft NZ resolution is relatively balanced and calls for restraint on both sides. Far too many UN resolutions only make demands on Israel.

The text was circulated this week to the 15-member council, Israel, the Palestinians and other countries in the region to gauge reaction. New Zealand UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen said the aim was “to try and get the council to speak with a united voice even if in a relatively modest way.”

“There’s been a worrying deterioration on the ground and we’re stuck with nothing happening in the peace process and no commitment in the council to do anything,” van Bohemen said. “We have to find a starting point and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

It isn’t a roadmap to peace, but a useful step forward.

NZ won election on the first round

October 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Now I’ve had time to check the detailed voting results, impressed that not only did New Zealand beat Turkey to win a spot on the UN Security Council, we also got more votes than Spain, and made the two thirds majority in the first round of voting.

To be elected you need 129 votes out of 193 member states, and NZ got 145 in the first round. Spain was on 121 and Turkey 109.

It then took two further rounds to elect Spain, as the normal pattern followed of states slowing peeling off the lowest polling candidate.

A win on the first round, scoring more votes than Turkey and Spain is truly impressive. Especially when you consider Turkey starts with almost all the Muslim countries on side, and Spain starts with almost all of Europe and the Spanish speaking countries. NZ stars with basically just Australia!

It would be interesting to see how each country voted, but I can’t find this online.

Shearer on UN Security Council bid

January 7th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

David Shearer writes at Stuff:

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.

Key calls for UN reform

September 28th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key has used a speech to the United Nations to launch a scathing attack on the Security Council, warning that inaction over events like the humanitarian crisis in Syria had damaged its credibility.

In notes for a trenchant speech lasting nearly 20 minutes, Key said the UN was in urgent need of reform – a key pitch in New Zealand’s bid for a seat on the Security Council.

“Its key organs, particularly the Security Council, have become hostage to their own traditions and to the interests of the most powerful,” Key said.

“We now seem to have a practice whereby the permanent members can not only block council actions through the veto. They also appear to have privileged access to information and can stop the council from meeting if it does not suit their collective purposes.

“Such behaviour damages the reputation and credibility of the wider organisation and must be challenged.” …

Key has been in New York drumming up support for New Zealand’s Security Council seat bid.

He said New Zealand was not advocating revolution “but we are asserting the council can and must do better in the way it conducts its business.

“That is the approach New Zealand will bring to the Security Council if we are elected next October,” he said.

“From the 1950s to the 1990s we could blame the Cold War when the Security Council did not act.

That does not wash today.”

Key called this week for permanent Security Council members to be stripped of their right of veto over acts of genocide or war crimes.

I wonder if one potential reform is that you need two permanent members to veto something, not one. That would still hold some protection from the tyranny of the majority, but would mean Russia and China would no longer have s sole veto. Of course US, UK and France would also lose a sole veto but two of them together could still veto – as could Russia and China.

Of course there is little incentive for any holders of the veto to weaken its power.

NZ and the UN Security Council

September 27th, 2009 at 7:26 am by David Farrar

Some parts of the UN are an embarrassing disgrace, such as the UN Human Rights Council. NZ was campaigning for a seat on that, and fortunately we abandoned that for Obama to allow the US to rejoin.

The UN Security Council is one of the few parts that really is worthwhile, and I think New Zealand will have a fair chance of gaining a place. We were successful the last time we stood.