We might not be able to join with overseas relatives this Christmas, but the authorities have put in place measures to ensure that Santa will be able to visit Aotearoa New Zealand. He will not need to quarantine for fourteen days as do other visitors. As the interview with the Prime Minister illustrates, this country has pulled out all the stops to make sure Santa’s delivery run is as safe and Covid free as possible. Not sure if the same is true in other jurisdictions…
Our general Elections are to be “officially” held on Saturday, 17th of October. Vote counting will commence after polling places close at 7:00 PM that day. However it has now become standard for voters to be able to vote early. We have been able to cast our vote since Saturday, hence, today being Monday, is day three of the the 15 day period during which we can cast our vote(s).
Although we have nowhere near the voter turnout that Australia has (voting is compulsory there), participation rates of 75% or greater are the norm here. And this year with greater promotion and availability of early voting, it’s likely that the turnout this year will be up on the 2017 elections.
One anomaly that early voting has revealed is the regulation that bans political advertising of any sort on polling day. This necessitates the removing of billboards, party banners etc before midnight on the day before polling day. Considering that voting now extends over two weeks and it’s expected that around 60% of all votes will be cast before polling day, either all political advertising needs to be banned for the entire time the polls are open or the advertising ban needs to be done away with entirely. But banning advertising on only the final day of polling is ludicrous in my view.
On a lighter note, here’s a (highly selective) comparison of last week’s leaders’ debates in NZ and the US. Apart from the obvious gender differences, our political leaders think more highly of each other than do American leaders.
There’s a section of the conservative right in America, mainly evangelical Christians (although I’m not convinced that the term “Christian” is appropriate) who are are willing to excuse Trump of almost any evil in order to accomplish his proclaimed goal of Make America Great Again, whatever that is supposed to mean. I’m sure that to Trump, MAGA really means Make America Go Autocratic.
The values and ideals held by those in the MAGA camp in the USA are also held by some in this country, although thankfully they make up a significantly smaller percentage of the population. So much are they endeared to the US MAGA brigade that they have lifted the acronym, the red baseball cap, and all, and applied it to themselves.
Unlike in the US, they don’t have a hero to champion their cause, so instead have targeted the person who is the antithesis – Jacinda Ardern. It’s very clear to me that the characteristics and values of our Prime Minister that endear her to the majority of Kiwis are not those of the NZ version of the MAGA brigade.
So what does what does the acronym MAGA stand for?
Make Ardern Go Away
It was inevitable that questions around Trump’s suggested bleach treatment of COVID-19 would be asked here. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the Director General of Health has been a regular presenter, along with the Prime Minister at the daily COVID-19 briefings, and in late April a reporter did ask Dr Bloomfield to comment on the POTUS’s suggestion.
It takes a lot to faze the good doctor, but this has been perhaps the only question to have left him speechless:
Reporter: Dr. Bloomfield, what do you make of suggestions by some leaders overseas that people should be injecting themselves with bleach to kill COVID-19?
Dr A: [silence]
Dr A: I don’t think I need to comment on that, Prime Minister?
PM: No. I think we’ll let your silence speak for itself.
Reporter: It is worth asking about though, isn’t it, because…
PM: Is it?
Reporter: after the president raised it, there were cases in New York where people needed to go to medical facilities because they had actually ingested disinfectant. I know you don’t want to dignify the response, but can you maybe just send a clear message to people that obviously this not the thing to do?
Dr. A: Indeed. Under no circumstances should they even think about doing that.
PM: I don’t think we’ve had any suggestion of any reported cases in New Zealand of that occurring, and so that suggests to me that no New Zealander has listened to or given any credence to that suggestion.
Reporter: Will you make a statement that the president said that at all?
PM: Obviously here in New Zealand we haven’t seen it picked up, responded to, [or] acted on in any way, and that’s what we are, of course, here to do – to look after the New Zealand population.
Perhaps it’s what Jacinda didn’t say but is implied by “we’ll let your silence speak for itself” and “that’s what we’re here to do – look after the New Zealand population” that actually speaks volumes.
kia haumaru, kia kaha
Keep safe, Keep strong.
The leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States of America have radically different styles and perspectives. I’m quite confident that a majority of Kiwis hold similar values to those expressed by our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Can the same be said of Americans regarding the values expressed by Donald Trump?
Below is a clip taken from parts of the UN speeches of the two leaders. For those who find the Kiwi Accent difficult, I have included a transcription below the video clip.
JA: If I could distill it down into one concept that we are pursuing in New Zealand, it is simple and it is this: kindness.
DT: America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.
JA: In the face of isolationism, protectionism, racism, the simple concept of looking outwardly and beyond ourselves, of kindness and collectivism might just be as good a starting point as any. So let’s start here with the institutions that have served us well in times of need and will do so again.
DT: We withdrew from the human rights council and we will not return until real reform is enacted. For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support and recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority.
JA: New Zealand remains committed to continue to do our part to building and sustaining international peace and security, to promoting and defending an open, inclusive and rules-based international order based on universal values, to being pragmatic, empathetic, strong and kind.
DT: The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid but few give anything to us.
JA: Tēnā koutou. Tēnā koutou. Tēnā koutou katoa.
[Salutations to you all.]
DT: Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the nations of the world. Thank you very much.
Last night, the wife and I raised our glasses (Giesen NZ Riesling 2017 if you’re curious) to celebrate the news that the nation will move from COVID-19 Alert Level Four to Level Three as from 11:59 PM on Monday, 28 April.
In practical terms, going to Level Three will make little difference to our personal lives. Our isolation bubble will not expand – it will remain at just two people. All retail facilities in town will remain closed apart from those that have been allowed to remain open during Level Four – supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations.
However it will mean that we will be able to drive the few kilometres to Kitchener Park and take the boardwalk through the forest. One difference here will be that when the wife needs to sit to ease her back pain, she’ll use a collapsible 3-legged stool instead of the fifteen or so park benches scattered along the walk – all in the interests of preventing contamination of our bubble.
Perhaps the most significant easing that Level Three provides for us will be that many more items will be able to be purchased online for delivery to our home. Currently deliveries can be made only for products that are considered essential.
We have also been given a start date for our home renovations – 1st of June, provided the Alert Level has dropped below Level Three. As almost all work will be inside, there’s no way we can keep our bubble protected from the various trades people who will be working on the project.
Unlike in the US, where we have seen news clips of shoulder to shoulder demonstrators calling for the end of COVID-19 restrictions, here we’re seeing concern that the relaxations are happening too soon. Under Level Three, child care facilities can re-open as can and schools for students from Year 1 through to Year 10. The emphasis is on can. Government advice is to keep kids home if at all possible. But there is considerable apprehension from staff mostly around managing social distancing for children – something that will be almost impossible to control.
Our Prime Minister has an approval rating of around 90% for her handling of the pandemic, even though our nationwide lockdown has been one of the most restrictive of any nation – certainly among those with a Western style democracy.
This is no more readily apparent than the public reaction to a comment on facebook by Simon Bridges, leader of the National Party and the Parliamentary Opposition, and currently chair of the Epidemic Response Committee, where he was critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic. Most see it as political grandstanding, including many National Party supporters. At time of writing, the post has attracted over 28,000 comments – mostly negative.
News headlines are suggesting there’s leadership coup being planned within the National Party, but of course they’re being denied. National Party support has plummeted to around 30% – way down on its pre-pandemic rating of low to mid forty percent, and doesn’t bode well for the party in the upcoming general elections currently set for September. I can understand why Jacinda Ardern is reluctant to push the election date back to November – a call being made by both the opposition and her coalition partner.
For anyone interested in NZ style politics, have a look at live streaming and recordings of previous sessions of the Epidemic Response Committee. This committee oversees government actions while Parliament is in recess during the lockdown.
Before the current crisis, the National Party had a comfortable lead over the Labour Party – often by as much as ten percentage points even though support for its leader trailed far behind that of the leader of the Labour Party – 5% – 10% for Simon Bridges compared to 40% to 50% for Jacinda Ardern.
We now see National have the lowest support for more than a decade. In Aotearoa New Zealand, our MMP electoral system means that parliamentary representation almost exactly reflects party support at time of a general election. Although in opposition, National has has been the largest party in Parliament. If an election were to held today Labour would be able to form a government with support of the Green Party.
I can’t see National and Greens being able to form a coalition in the foreseeable future, being at opposite ends of not very wide NZ political spectrum. Think of Biden as National, Sanders as Labour and Greens as Andrew Yang. There’s no popular support here for an equivalent of the Republican GOP.
kia haumaru, kia kaha
Keep safe, be strong.
Below are the UN general assembly Speeches by the president of the United States of America, and the Prime Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand. Do they even live on the same planet?
Jacinda’s speech in English starts at 1m 5s if you wish to skip her formal greeting in te Reo Māori, but out of respect for our culture, please don’t.
An opinion piece written by Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, has been published in the NYT and a number of other publications (I have included to content of the opinion piece after my “two cents worth”).
Already I see assertions that the U.N. has a hidden agenda to shut down free speech in order to bring in some new oppressive world order – that order depending on where on the political spectrum the “pundit” stands – and that Jacinda is a willing or inadvertent pawn in the conspiracy. It’s also amazing to see the number of people on various platforms who seem to believe that the Christchurch atrocity was staged by the government or the U.N (or some other boogieman) in order to make people more accepting of restrictions imposed by those in authority. But I digress.
The planned Christchurch Conference has already been criticised because it doesn’t propose any specific solution to the use of social media as a tool to promote terrorism. They miss the point. The whole purpose of the conference is to bring about a round table discussion involving all interested parties on what should be done and how it might be implemented to reduce or eliminate social media being a tool of the terrorists.
Our Prime Minister, along with the rest of the country have determined that “prayers and platitudes” are not the answer, and sitting on our hands will not make the threat of terrorism by social media go away. There’s a high chance that the conference will not achieve the desired outcome, but unless those with the “power” to affect an outcome sit down together and discuss it, “prayers and platitudes” will be all we have to look forward to.
Here is the opinion piece:
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — At 1:40 p.m. on Friday, March 15, a gunman entered a mosque in the city of Christchurch and shot dead 41 people as they worshiped.
He then drove for six minutes to another mosque where, at 1:52 p.m., he entered and took the lives of another seven worshipers in just three minutes. Three more people died of their injuries after the attack.
For New Zealand this was an unprecedented act of terror. It shattered our small country on what was otherwise an ordinary Friday afternoon. I was on my way to visit a new school, people were preparing for the weekend, and Kiwi Muslims were answering their call to prayer. Fifty men, women and children were killed that day. Thirty-nine others were injured; one died in the hospital weeks later, and some will never recover.
This attack was part of a horrifying new trend that seems to be spreading around the world: It was designed to be broadcast on the internet.
The entire event was live-streamed — for 16 minutes and 55 seconds — by the terrorist on social media. Original footage of the live stream was viewed some 4,000 times before being removed from Facebook. Within the first 24 hours, 1.5 million copies of the video had been taken down from the platform. There was one upload per second to YouTube in the first 24 hours.
The scale of this horrific video’s reach was staggering. Many people report seeing it autoplay on their social media feeds and not realizing what it was — after all, how could something so heinous be so available? I use and manage my social media just like anyone else. I know the reach of this video was vast, because I too inadvertently saw it.
We can quantify the reach of this act of terror online, but we cannot quantify its impact. What we do know is that in the first week and a half after the attack, 8,000 people who saw it called mental health support lines here in New Zealand.
My job in the immediate aftermath was to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders and to provide whatever assistance and comfort I could to those affected. The world grieved with us. The outpouring of sorrow and support from New Zealanders and from around the globe was immense. But we didn’t just want grief; we wanted action.
Our first move was to pass a law banning the military-style semiautomatic guns the terrorist used. That was the tangible weapon.
But the terrorist’s other weapon was live-streaming the attack on social media to spread his hateful vision and inspire fear. He wanted his chilling beliefs and actions to attract attention, and he chose social media as his tool.
We need to address this, too, to ensure that a terrorist attack like this never happens anywhere else. That is why I am leading, with President Emmanuel Macron of France, a gathering in Paris on Wednesday not just for politicians and heads of state but also the leaders of technology companies. We may have our differences, but none of us wants to see digital platforms used for terrorism.
Our aim may not be simple, but it is clearly focused: to end terrorist and violent extremist content online. This can succeed only if we collaborate.
Numerous world leaders have committed to going to Paris, and the tech industry says it is open to working more closely with us on this issue — and I hope they do. This is not about undermining or limiting freedom of speech. It is about these companies and how they operate.
I use Facebook, Instagram and occasionally Twitter. There’s no denying the power they have and the value they can provide. I’ll never forget a few days after the March 15 attack a group of high school students telling me how they had used social media to organize and gather in a public park in Christchurch to support their school friends who had been affected by the massacre.
Social media connects people. And so we must ensure that in our attempts to prevent harm that we do not compromise the integral pillar of society that is freedom of expression.
But that right does not include the freedom to broadcast mass murder.
And so, New Zealand will present a call to action in the name of Christchurch, asking both nations and private corporations to make changes to prevent the posting of terrorist content online, to ensure its efficient and fast removal and to prevent the use of live-streaming as a tool for broadcasting terrorist attacks. We also hope to see more investment in research into technology that can help address these issues.
The Christchurch call to action will build on work already being undertaken around the world by other international organizations. It will be a voluntary framework that commits signatories to counter the drivers of terrorism and put in place specific measures to prevent the uploading of terrorist content.
A terrorist attack like the one in Christchurch could happen again unless we change. New Zealand could reform its gun laws, and we did. We can tackle racism and discrimination, which we must. We can review our security and intelligence settings, and we are. But we can’t fix the proliferation of violent content online by ourselves. We need to ensure that an attack like this never happens again in our country or anywhere else.
It’s interesting to compare Trump’s “America First” stance to the Aotearoa New Zealand global stance as presented to the United Nations by our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. To quote from a 1 News report:
In direct opposition to the isolationist and protectionist policies of the US President, Ms Ardern used her address to encourage global leaders to look outward and beyond themselves, to commit to “kindness and collectivism” and to rebuild multilateralism.
The Prime Minister also stated the importance of global leaders re-committing to gender equality and a global effort to combat climate change, describing “any undermining of climate related targets and agreements” as “catastrophic”.
Below is a transcript of her UN statement. In it she emphasises the importance of kindness and collectivism, fairness and inclusiveness. She points out that #MeToo needs to be become #WeToo. If you prefer to hear her speech rather than read it, I’ve included a Youtube clip under the transcript (22m 47s).
Madam President, Mr Secretary-General, friends in the global community.
My opening remarks were in te reo Māori, the language of the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. As is tradition, I acknowledged those who are here, why we are here, and the importance of our work.
It seems a fitting place to start.
I’m struck as a leader attending my first United Nations General Assembly by the power and potential that resides here.
But in New Zealand, we have always been acutely aware of that.
We are a remote nation at the bottom of the South Pacific. Our nearest neighbours take 3 hours to reach by plane, and anywhere that takes less than 12 hours is considered close. I have no doubt though, that our geographic isolation has contributed to our values.
We are a self-deprecating people. We’re not ones for status. We’ll celebrate the local person who volunteers at their sports club as much as we will the successful entrepreneur. Our empathy and strong sense of justice is matched only by our pragmatism. We are, after all, a country made up of two main islands – one simply named North and the other, South.
For all of that, our isolation has not made us insular.
In fact, our engagement with the world has helped shape who we are.
I am a child of the ’80s. A period in New Zealand’s history where we didn’t just observe international events, we challenged them. Whether it was apartheid in South Africa, or nuclear testing in the Pacific, I grew up learning about my country and who we were, by the way that we reacted to international events. Whether it was taking to the streets or changing our laws, we have seen ourselves as members of a community, and one that we have a duty to use our voice within.
I am an incredibly proud New Zealander, but much of that pride has come from being a strong and active member of our international community, not in spite of it.
And at the heart of that international community, has been this place.
Emerging from a catastrophic war, we have collectively established through convention, charters and rules a set of international norms and human rights. All of these are an acknowledgement that we are not isolated, governments do have obligations to their people and each other, and that our actions have a global effect.
In 1945, New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser said that the UN Charter offered perhaps a last opportunity to work in unison to realise the hope in the hearts of all of us, for a peace that would be real, lasting, and worthy of human dignity.
But none of these founding principles should be consigned to the history books. In fact, given the challenges we face today, and how truly global they are in their nature and impact, the need for collective action and multilateralism has never been clearer.
And yet, for all of that, the debate and dialogue we hear globally is not centred on the relevance and importance of our international institutions. Instead, we find ourselves having to defend their very existence.
That surely leaves us all with the question, how did we get here, and how do we get out?
If anything unites us politically in this place right now it is this – globalisation has had a massive impact on our nations and the people we serve.
While that impact has been positive for many, for others it has not. The transitions our economies have made have often been jarring, and the consequences harsh. And so amongst unprecedented global economic growth, we have still seen a growing sense of isolation, dislocation, and a sense of insecurity and the erosion of hope.
As politicians and governments, we all have choices in how we respond to these challenges.
We can use the environment to blame nameless, faceless ‘other’, to feed the sense of insecurity, to retreat into greater levels of isolationism. Or we can acknowledge the problems we have and seek to fix them.
In New Zealand, going it alone is not an option.
Aside from our history, we are also a trading nation. And proudly so. But even without those founding principles, there are not just questions of nationhood to consider. There are generational demands upon us too.
It should hardly come as a surprise that we have seen a global trend of young people showing dissatisfaction with our political systems, and calling on us to do things differently – why wouldn’t they when they themselves have had to adapt so rapidly to a changing world.
Within a few short decades we now have a generation who will grow up more connected than ever before. Digital transformation will determine whether the jobs they are training for will even exist in two decades. In education or the job market, they won’t just compete with their neighbour, but their neighbouring country.
This generation is a borderless one – at least in a virtual sense. One that increasingly see themselves as global citizens. And as their reality changes, they expect ours to as well – that we’ll see and understand our collective impact, and that we’ll change the way we use our power.
And if we’re looking for an example of where the next generation is calling on us to make that change, we need look no further than climate change.
World leaders queue to meet Jacinda Ardern after her speech. Photo credit: Office of the Prime Minister
Two weeks ago, Pacific Island leaders gathered together at the Pacific Islands Forum.
It was at this meeting, on the small island nation of Nauru, that climate change was declared the single biggest threat to the security of the Pacific. Please, just think about this for a moment.
Of all of the challenges we debate and discuss, rising sea levels present the single biggest threat to our region.
For those who live in the South Pacific, the impacts of climate change are not academic, or even arguable. They are watching the sea levels rise, the extreme weather events increase, and the impact on their water supply and food crops. We can talk all we like about the science and what it means, what temperature rises we need to limit in order to survive, but there is a grinding reality in hearing someone from a Pacific island talk about where the sea was when they were a child, and potential loss of their entire village as an adult.
Our action in the wake of this global challenge remains optional. But the impact of inaction does not. Nations like Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, or Kiribati – small countries who’ve contributed the least to global climate change – are and will suffer the full force of a warming planet.
If my Pacific neighbours do not have the option of opting out of the effects of climate change, why should we be able to opt out of taking action to stop it?
Any disintegration of multilateralism – any undermining of climate related targets and agreements – aren’t interesting footnotes in geopolitical history. They are catastrophic.
In New Zealand we are determined to play our part. We will not issue any further offshore oil and gas exploration permits. We have set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy generation by 2035, established a green infrastructure fund to encourage innovation, and rolled out an initiative to plant one billion trees over the next 10 years.
These plans are unashamedly ambitious. The threat climate change poses demands it.
But we only represent less than 0.2 percent of global emissions.
That’s why, as a global community, not since the inception of the United Nations has there been a greater example of the importance of collective action and multilateralism, than climate change. It should be a rallying cry to all of us.
And yet there is a hesitance we can ill afford. A calculation of personal cost, of self-interest. But this is not the only challenge where domestic self-interest is the first response, and where an international or collective approach has been diluted at best, or rejected at worst.
But it would be both unfair and naive to argue that retreating to our own borders and interests has meant turning our backs on a perfect system. The international institutions we have committed ourselves to have not been perfect.
But they can be fixed.
And that is why the challenge I wish to issue today is this – together, we must rebuild and recommit to multilateralism.
We must redouble our efforts to work as a global community.
We must rediscover our shared belief in the value, rather than the harm, of connectedness.
We must demonstrate that collective international action not only works, but that it is in all of our best interests.
We must show the next generation that we are listening, and that we have heard them.
But if we’re truly going to take on a reform agenda, we need to acknowledge the failings that led us to this cross road.
International trade for instance, has helped bring millions of people out of poverty around the world. But some have felt their standard of living slide. In New Zealand, we ourselves have seen the hesitancy around trade agreements amongst our own population.
The correct response to this is not to repeat mistakes of the past and be seduced by the false promises of protectionism. Rather, we must all work to ensure that the benefits of trade are distributed fairly across our societies.
We can’t rely on international institutions to do this, in the same way as we cannot blame them if they haven’t delivered these benefits. It is incumbent on us to build productive, sustainable, inclusive economies, and demonstrate to our peoples that when done right, international economic integration can make us all better off.
And if we want to ensure anyone is better off, surely it should be the most vulnerable.
In New Zealand we have set ourselves an ambitious goal. We want to be the best place in the world to be a child. It’s hardly the stuff of hard and fast measures – after all, how do you measure play, a feeling of security, happiness?
But we can measure material deprivation, and we can measure poverty, and so we will. And not only that, we are making it law that we report on those numbers every single year alongside our budgets. What better way to hold ourselves to account, and what better group to do that for than children.
But if we are focused on nurturing that next generation, we have to equally worry about what it is we are handing down to them too – including our environment.
In the Māori language there is a word that captures the importance of that role – Kaitiakitanga. It means guardianship. The idea that we have been entrusted with our environment, and we have a duty of care. For us, that has meant taking action to address degradation, like setting standards to make our rivers swimmable, reducing waste and phasing out single-use plastic bags, right through to eradicating predators and protecting our biodiversity.
The race to grow our economies and increase wealth makes us all the poorer if it comes at the cost of our environment. In New Zealand, we are determined to prove that it doesn’t have to be this way.
But these are all actions and initiatives that we can take domestically that ease the blame and pressure on our international institutions. That doesn’t mean they don’t need fixing.
Reforming the UN
As the heart of the multilateral system, the United Nations must lead the way.
We strongly support the Secretary-General’s reform efforts to make the UN more responsive and effective, modernised so that it is capable of dealing with today’s challenges. We encourage him to be ambitious. And we stand with him in that ambition.
But ultimately it is up to us – the Member States – to drive change at the UN.
This includes reforming the Security Council. If we want the Council to fulfil its purpose of maintaining international peace and security, its practices need to be updated so it is not hamstrung by the use of the veto.
New thinking will also be needed if we are to achieve the vision encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goals. In New Zealand, we have sought to embed the principles behind the SDGs in a new living standards framework that is guiding policy making, and the management of our resources. And we remain committed to supporting the roll out of the SDGs alongside international partners through a significant increase in our Official Development Assistance budget.
But revitalising our international rules-based system isn’t just about the mechanics of how we work together. It also means renewing our commitment to our values.
The UN Charter recalls that the Organisation was formed to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which through two World Wars had brought untold sorrow to humanity. If we forget this history and the principles which drove the creation of the UN we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
In an increasingly uncertain world it is more important than ever that we remember the core values on which the UN was built.
That all people are equal.
That everyone is entitled to have their dignity and human rights respected.
That we must strive to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
And we must consistently hold ourselves to account on each.
Amongst renewing this commitment though, we have to acknowledge where accountability must continue – and that is especially the case when it comes to equality.
So many gains have been made, each worthy of celebration. In New Zealand we have just marked the 125th year since women were granted the right to vote. We were the first in the world to do so. As a girl I never ever grew up believing that my gender would stand in the way of me achieving whatever I wanted to in life. I am, after all, not the first, but the third female Prime Minister of New Zealand.
But for all of that, we still have a gender pay gap, an over representation of women in low paid work, and domestic violence. And we are not alone.
It seems surprising that in this modern age we have to recommit ourselves to gender equality, but we do. And I for one will never celebrate the gains we have made for women domestically, while internationally other women and girls experience a lack of the most basic of opportunity and dignity.
Me Too must become We Too.
We are all in this together.
I accept that the list of demands on all of us is long. Be it domestic, or international, we are operating in challenging times. We face what we call in New Zealand ‘wicked problems’. Ones that are intertwined and interrelated.
Perhaps then it is time to step back from the chaos and ask what we want. It is in that space that we’ll find simplicity. The simplicity of peace, of prosperity, of fairness. If I could distil it down into one concept that we are pursuing in New Zealand it is simple and it is this. Kindness.
In the face of isolationism, protectionism, racism – the simple concept of looking outwardly and beyond ourselves, of kindness and collectivism, might just be as good a starting point as any. So let’s start here with the institutions that have served us well in times of need, and will do so again.
In the meantime, I can assure all of you, New Zealand remains committed to continue to do our part to building and sustaining international peace and security. To promoting and defending an open, inclusive, and rules-based international order based on universal values.
To being pragmatic, empathetic, strong and kind.
The next generation after all, deserves no less.
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.