Māori party adopts Swiss neutrality policy

Te Pāti Māori say a 'transformative' defence and foreign affairs policy, will see its MPs vote against overseas military support, by New Zealand forces.

Co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi unveiled the neutrality policy during their AGM, calling it "Rangatiratanga and Mana Māori Motuhake in action"; if in power, they would withdraw from the Five Eyes security pact between Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the US.

“We will no longer be a political football in the wars of imperial powers. We will no longer act as a Pacific spy base for the Five-Eyes Alliance,” Waititi said.

"We have determined a Māori-centric foreign policy and a Māori-centric defence policy shaped for us and by us without selling or trading our mana by just simply asserting it,” Ngarewa-Packer said.

Waititi said the party's aspiration was for Aotearoa to adopt neutrality policies similar to Switzerland.

“In 1987 Aotearoa declared we were nuclear-free. Te Pāti Māori now declares Aotearoa must be militarily neutral, a Switzerland of the South Pacific,” Waititi said.

Māori servicemen unrewarded

Kudos was all the Māori Battalion got for its victories against Nazi Germany in World War II, Waititi said.

"Our services were honoured by us not receiving any allotments to returned services housing or farms. Our services dispensed in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and Afghanistan achieved nothing for us as a people,” Waititi said.

"We will no longer have our sovereignty determined by others, whether it is in Canberra, London, Washington, Beijing or Moscow."

The party took heat from Ukrainian expatriates last year when Waititi claimed the Russian invasion of Ukraine was caused by the "politics of America, NATO, and other countries". a popular Kremlin talking point.

Ukraine officials say they attempted de-escalation before the invasion, and point to imperialist essays from Russian president Vladimir Putin claiming the country is a Moscow satellite state.

Sport force only

Ngarewa-Packer says Aotearoa should still "stand alongside indigenous peoples in their fight for their sovereignty over their own lands" and it supported the government's sanctions bill against Russia last year.

The party would still fund a defence force but it would be a "support force for the Pacific, for our Polynesian world", and to tackle civil defence emergencies, according to Ngarewa-Packer.

"With the extreme weather events of the past few weeks, we’ve seen just how important it is that our defence force is focused on responding to threats to our own people." she said.

“The time for war, killing and imperialism is over. Now is the time for peace and sovereignty for tangata whenua and indigenous peoples around the world. Aotearoa must be friends to everybody and enemies to nobody.”

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