Government support party Act says New Zealand should abandon
its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
because it would make some countries our enemies.
Act Epsom candidate David Seymour told a Disability
Support Network election forum today that the United Nations
was "not a credible organisation" because it allowed "terrorist
states" to tell New Zealand what to do.
Speaking during a visit to Auckland by UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon, he criticised the National-led Government's
campaign for a seat on the 15-member Security Council for
2015-16 which will be elected in New York next month.
"One of New Zealand's great advantages in the world is that
we don't have any enemies," he said.
"Being on the Security Council is going to put us in a
position where we create enemies, and I actually think that
New Zealand's position as an honest broker in the world is
strengthened by not getting into these kinds of international
"The Security Council is going to make resolutions -- not
that it's going to be taken very seriously by any actual
aggressors. Do we want to be making enemies in the world?"
His comments came when all parties were asked whether they
would support ratifying the Optional Protocol to the
Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which
gives people a right to appeal to the UN after exhausting all
avenues within a country to achieve recognition of their
New Zealand led a long fight for the convention, which was
signed in 2006, but it has not yet signed the optional
protocol. Australia acceded to the protocol in 2009 and it
has been signed so far by 92 countries.
Labour's Kelston candidate Carmel Sepuloni and Green MP Mojo
Mathers said their parties were committed to signing the
Maori Party Upper Harbour candidate Hinurewa Te Hau said the
protocol "needs to be advanced".
National's Mt Roskill candidate Dr Parmjeet Parmar said
National would "look into working with different agencies on
But Mr Seymour said: "We are not necessarily against this
charter, but I have got to say that the United Nations as an
organisation has countries that are frankly terrorist states
on the Security Council telling countries like New Zealand
how to do their business, so it has never been a priority of
ours to follow the United Nations."
Later he said: "It simply is not a credible organisation that
has people from countries like Afghanistan lecturing New
Zealand about human rights, and countries like Zimbabwe
lecturing us about the environment, and countries that have
no history of settler relations with indigenous people like
New Zealand and Canada have lecturing us on those issues. A
lot of people have lost faith in the United Nations and for
very good reason."
Mr Seymour also found himself in a minority in response to
another question on what the parties would do to help
disability services recruit and retain quality staff.
Labour, the Greens and NZ First president Anne Martin all
said they would raise the minimum wage -- to $16.25 an hour
within a year (Labour), $18 by 2017 (Green) or $17 (NZ
First). Ms Te Hau said the Maori Party was also "committed to
the living wage".
But Mr Seymour and Dr Parmar warned that big jumps in minimum
wages would force employers to reduce staffing.
"If you come from Wellington and make a law saying 'Thou
shalt pay this much as a minimum wage or living wage,' then
organisations will be forced to make budgeting decisions that
may actually reduce the number of people working for you," Mr
Seymour told the disability groups.
Dr Parmar said: "We don't need legislation to increase the
minimum wage at the cost of employment because that means
employers will be cutting down staff and creating
By Simon Collins of the New Zealand Herald