It is sad but true: New Zealand is not making the most of its United Nations Security Council seat.
After all that effort lobbying nations around the world, talking up our record and our stand point on world affairs, the New Zealand Government seems woefully determined that our time holding a temporary United Nations Security Council seat should go to waste. And we will end up regretting not having done more when we were granted the opportunity.
What is the problem?
Could it be stage fright? I doubt it very much. Our past performance shows New Zealand is not scared of the world stage. Our standing up to France over the Rainbow Warrior bombing nearly 30 years ago was one of character that impressed many nations all over the world.
Could it be that the New Zealand government, now having gotten a United Nations Security Council, does not know to do next? Possibly. In some respects it is behaving almost like you give a pet something it clearly wanted to play with and then it looks at you as if to say “what do I do with it?” or “was I supposed to do something with this?”. Part of the problem with M.M.P., a system that generally works well is that it shaves off the radical policies completely or tries to weaken them. Not that I am suggesting New Zealand foreign policy has been radical – on the whole if one can see past the blemishes of the last 15 years, it has been exemplary. Both this National led Government and the Labour one before it I have felt could have been bolder with policy and more decisively acting in dealing with international emergencies or in seizing opportunities.
Could it be that in return for investment, we are expected to suck up whatever demands come from other nations? Possibly. Certainly one would think so from the Government’s appeasement of the Saudi businessman who had he been a New Zealander would have been up for the large scale slaughter of so many sheep. The reluctance of the Government to criticize Chinese human rights abuses and the eagerness of the Prime Minister and Minister of Trade to wrap up the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement show evidence of such.
Or could it be that corporate dollars are eroding any moral backbone that this country has ever had and that we are in danger of becoming the meek and obedient sheep being led into the valley of steel that the Pink Floyd song Sheep alludes to? Probably. The very suspect nature of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, the refusal of the Government to release the text and the media seemingly unable or unwilling to carry out their fourth estate duties by investigating the issue. So many of the issues causing alarm in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement are issues that nations signatory to international statutes such as New Zealand would be obliged to act on, lest we get a rebuke from the United Nations. Labour, environmental law, human rights are just a few.
Hmmm…. got an identity issue I think. The country that prides itself on a fair go, seems to be A.W.O.L.