Media release: NZ Government – Foreign Minister Winston Peters

New Zealand voted in favour of a resolution broadening Palestine’s participation at the United Nations General Assembly overnight [May 11], Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.

“The resolution enhances the rights of Palestine to participate in the work of the UN General Assembly while stopping short of admitting Palestine as a full member of the UN.

“New Zealand will make a clear statement to the UN later this morning explaining its vote, indicating that while it supports enhancing Palestine’s status at the UN, this does not amount to recognition of Palestinian statehood,” Peters says.

“New Zealand’s vote first and foremost reflects the frustration felt by the international community at the endless cycle of violence that continues to beset the region.

“We have consistently said that Israel and a future Palestinian state living peacefully side-by-side is the only durable and just solution. That can only be achieved by the parties ending this conflict and returning to the negotiating table,” Peters says.

“This was a finely balanced decision by New Zealand because while we have had a long-standing position in support of a two-state solution, and view recognition of statehood as a ‘when, not if’ question, our focus continues to be on the needs of the moment.

“Those needs are for a permanent ceasefire, release of hostages, and relieving the humanitarian crisis. The catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza can only be solved by the parties around a negotiating table, not by military action in Rafah and we call for an immediate de-escalation.

“While the UN resolution is a strong statement in support of Palestine’s aspirations and reflects New Zealand and the international community’s expectations for real progress towards a political solution, achieving statehood must ultimately require serious negotiations between both Israel and Palestinians, including over the political authority of a future Palestinian state,” Peters says.