Prime Minster, Jacinda Ardern, refused to comment on the Israel Institute of New Zealand poll conducted earlier this year. While most Kiwis supported Israel, Ardern has not taken a position either way, and this trend continued with the following answers to questions posed on TVNZ’s Q&A, 20 November.
Corin Dann: Was Murray McCully, when he was the foreign minister, out of line to co-sponsor the measure condemning Israeli settlements? He did that without cabinet approval.
Jacinda Ardern: Indeed, and putting aside the issue, the only question we’ve raised is whether there could’ve been a bit more of a process around it.
Corin Dann: Do you support him in what he did? Because a lot of progressive left leaning New Zealanders would have actually been pretty proud of Murray McCully taking that stance. Do you personally support his stance?
Jacinda Ardern: We should absolutely use the voice that we had in a critical position within the UN at that time, a particularly critical position at that time, to yes, take a stand. The only issue we’ve raised is whether or not a process could’ve been gone through to involve at least the government on that.
It appears that Ms Ardern agrees with the biased text of the resolution, but hasn’t actually addressed it. It is pleasing, though, to note that she acknowledges the rogue nature of Murray McCully in co-sponsoring the resolution with Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela – without even consulting cabinet. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was one of the most vocal MPs against 2334 and yet Prime Minister Ardern seems to be unable to answer the question directly.
Corin Dann: Putting a cabinet minute into the coalition agreement sends a pretty strong signal, basically, that you’re saying he was out of line, so the message to the world is that he was on his own, it was a rogue decision, it wasn’t New Zealand’s decision
Jacinda Ardern: I disagree
Corin Dann: But how else can it be interpreted?
Jacinda Ardern: Simply, simply that. Whenever a government makes a decision, it makes one as a whole, admitting that it made a decision as a whole was a simple request.
Corin Dann: That is what Winston Peters is trying to get at, by putting that minute in there.
Jacinda Ardern: That is a question for Mr Peters. That’s certainly the point that we’ve made. It would have taken no extra time necessarily to make sure that it was an, seen to be an all of government decision.
Given the level of outrage that was expressed at the time, and the number of Ministers who were either publicly or privately shocked at McCully’s actions, the decision to depart from a longstanding New Zealand policy of balance and co-sponsor and vote for the biased resolution may not have actually been approved by cabinet. The resolution not only singularly blamed Israel for the conflict and failed to address Palestinian terror, it also undermined previous UN resolutions by declaring the holiest places in Judaism to be in “Occupied Palestinian Territory” and removed the need for the Palestinian leadership to negotiate for the land on which to build a state they claim to want.