Ban-Ki Moon. Photo by Reuters
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has dodged
questions about whether New Zealand's backing of US air strikes
in Iraq would affect its chance of a seat on the security
Mr Ban is in New Zealand for a two-day visit following a
small island development conference in Samoa.
New Zealand is bidding for a seat on the UN Security Council
But Mr Ban said he could not weigh into the issue of whether
New Zealand would be successful.
"I'm aware New Zealand is very much enthusiastic to serve on
the security council," he said. "As you may appreciate, as
the secretary-general I'm not in a position to say anything.
"This is a matter to be decided by the member states.
"At the same time I'm aware of how actively you have been
engaging and how actively you have been contributing to
issues of international security and development and human
rights issues since 1945 [when the UN was founded]."
Asked if New Zealand's moral backing of US airstrikes in Iraq
could hinder the bid, he dodged the question, saying: "I hope
that this security situation, as it develops, should be
discussed more at the security council how the international
community can have a more concerted way [of dealing with it],
but at the same time when a situation really blows out like
this, it's also important to contain the further spread of
this political instability and security instability.
"And [because of] that I really appreciate those countries
who have the capacity for, and have been addressing, the
counter terrorism issues."Mr Ban was speaking at a joint
press conference with Prime Minister John Key this morning
following a closed-doors meeting.
The pair discussed a "very wide range" of topics, Mr Key
said, including Fiji and its upcoming election, conflict in
the Middle East, the situation in Ukraine, as well as New
Zealand's engagement in areas such as climate change , aid
and ratifying the arms trade treaty.
New Zealand was a founding member of the United Nations and
Mr Ban praised the country's track record of humanitarian
"It's always a great pleasure to work the New Zealand and New
Zealanders," he said.
"Since the beginning of the United Nations in 1945 you have
been a champion and an exemplary member state in addressing
the three pillars of the United Nations - security,
development and human rights.
"When it comes to human rights you are really a champion in
upholding gender equality ... That kind of example has been
picked up on by member states for seven decades."
My Key also praised New Zealand's "very important role" in
"We're a small country, but we've held an independent foreign
policy and a strong voice for a very, very long period of
time," he said.
"We're consistent in what we do and I think people respect
the views of New Zealand."
The UN secretary-general last visited New Zealand three years
This weeks short trip will see him receiving an honorary
doctorate from Auckland University tomorrow.
Today he will travel to Taupo where he will be shown examples
of New Zealand's renewable and sustainable energy efforts.
He praised the country's "strong commitment" to tackling
climate change and its consequences, particularly for small
Pacific island nations.
"I congratulate your government's very far sighted vision of
using more renewable energy, targeting 95 per cent of your
energy by 2025, that's quite a big exemplary vision," he
"I hope that many member states will emulate this one.
"As I am going to convene a climate change summit meeting on
September 23 in New York, I hope a lot of member states, and
particularly leaders, will come to New York with a bold and
ambitious target so that we can have visions and the
political will generated in there."
By Patrice Dougan of APNZ