MPs yesterday passed a motion, calling on all those involved in the conflict to "take urgent steps towards establishing a ceasefire".
Labour associate foreign affairs spokesperson Damien O'Connor, frustrated the government was not calling for an immediate ceasefire, ended up going further than his own party's position.
"No person with any ounce of moral courage can see this as anything but horrific, nothing more than a genocide."
While the Greens and Te Pāti Māori have been calling it genocide for weeks, O'Connor's colleague Phil Twyford - whose amendment calling for a two-state solution was adopted - said his comments did not reflect Labour's position.
"There is a lot of views on that and certainly a lot of people who believe it is. But there is a big body of international law that has very strict definitions and qualifications about the use of the word genocide. That's the reason, by and large, most governments are very cautious about using the word."
In a statement Chris Hipkins said: "Damien O'Connor is incredibly passionate about this issue and that was evident during his contribution today. I respect the emotion and feeling he showed during the debate.
"However the Labour Party's position remains that it is for the relevant international bodies to determine whether actions by Israel are within the constraints of international law."
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters wants to see the evidence.
Such a definition would be up to a judicial body like the International Criminal Court, Peters said.
"When we have seen international bodies, charged with the conclusions that might arise from such an investigation, coming to those conclusions and not beforehand, by making allegations without laying out the factual evidence."
After the motion calling on all those involved in the conflict to "take urgent steps towards establishing a ceasefire" was passed, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon was asked about its phrasing.
"They both have to agree to be able to put down their arms, they both have to agree to cease fighting across the whole area of the conflict in Gaza and in Israel, and both parties need to commit to a political process and a peace process to resolve their differences."
Peters last night spoke to his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, about a long-term ceasefire.
In a tweet on X, Peters said they discussed the Hamas attack on 7 October, the remaining hostages and Israel's right to defend itself.
The pair also talked about respecting international law and aiding New Zealanders in Gaza.
The phone call was one in a series the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has initiated, Peters said.