Politics | Gaza war

Don’t collude with old colonial powers on Gaza and the Houthis – foreign policy advocates

Foreign policy activist group Te Kuaka, describes the government’s decision to deploy a six-member Defence Force team to the Middle East as “deeply alarming”. The announcement by the government came at a post-Cabinet media conference.

Te Kuaka NZ aims for an independent, values-driven foreign policy for New Zealand as a South Pacific nation.

It wants to shape an active international role for Aotearoa that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi, challenges structures of power and inequality and promotes environmental and social justice.

The group’s co-director Dr Arama Rata said New Zealand’s involvement in the Red Sea would “inflame regional instability and cause more civilian deaths without addressing the root cause of the Houthi actions, which is ending the genocide in Gaza.”

“It is deeply alarming that this decision was made without a Parliamentary mandate, particularly given the incredibly high stakes of the situation.

“There has been no explicit authorisation of military action in self-defence against Yemen by the UN Security Council either.”

Huge risks to New Zealand

“This sets a frightening precedent for how foreign policy decisions are made,” Rata said. “There are huge risks to not just the Middle East but New Zealand directly, when we take the side of the US and the UK, nations that have a long history of oppressive intervention in the Global South.”

Co-director Dr.Marco de Jong said: “We know that public opinion and a parliamentary mandate would have swayed any foreign policy decisions in the direction of calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Public polls and weekly protests for Palestine, since October 7, have shown this to be the case.”

Neither Prime Minister Christopher Luxon nor Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

“By pre-empting these criticisms in its own announcement, the government is wrongly suggesting that our intervention in the Middle East will not be viewed in the context of genocide in Gaza and highlighting NZ’s previous involvement in US-led misadventures – which have been similarly deadly and destructive.”

“We need to have an honest reflection about our positioning alongside the US and the UK. Instead of colluding with these colonial powers, we should be standing with countries like Brazil and South Africa, which are challenging old colonial regimes, and represent the majority of the international community.”