UN res­o­lu­tion a thorny prob­lem

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - GOR­DON CAMP­BELL TALK­ING POL­I­TICS

THANKS, KI­WIS

Thanks to the fan­tas­tic con­tri­bu­tions of Ki­wis, the Kmart Wish­ing Tree Ap­peal is proud to have com­pleted its 23rd year in New Zealand. With over 42,386 gifts col­lected na­tion­ally, Kmart and its char­ity part­ner The Sal­va­tion Army are hum­bled by the amaz­ing gen­eros­ity of New Zealan­ders who placed gifts un­der the Kmart Wish­ing Tree Ap­peal in De­cem­ber.

Kmart Porirua col­lected 1922 gifts in to­tal, five per cent of the na­tional gift to­tal the Kmart Wish­ing Tree Ap­peal was able to pass onto New Zealand fam­i­lies in need at Christ­mas time. Your con­tri­bu­tions have meant that strug­gling fam­i­lies can also ex­pe­ri­ence that giv­ing feel­ing in what can be a stress­ful fi­nan­cial time for those liv­ing pay­check to pay­check.

On be­half of the en­tire Kmart team and our friends at The Sal­va­tion Army, I would like to thank each and ev­ery per­son and busi­ness who do­nated to the ap­peal and par­tic­u­larly the in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous peo­ple of Welling­ton and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the gift of giv­ing this fes­tive sea­son.

Ju­lian Hop­kins

Kmart Porirua store man­ager

AOTEA, WELLING­TON?

As a not-too-dis­tantly past res­i­dent of Porirua, I was in­trigued by the front page story in the Do­min­ion Post (Jan 11) re­gard­ing the devel­oper’s ini­tial de­scrip­tion of fu­ture townhouses on the Aotea block as be­ing in Welling­ton with a view of Welling­ton Har­bour. Is that tof­feenosed or what?

I re­call, when Aotea was in the early stages of devel­op­ment and the houses were not many, a lady go­ing to a hair­dresser and in­sist­ing that her ad­dress was Aotea, Welling­ton.

I thought that kind of non­sense had long since dis­ap­peared. not so, ap­par­ently.

Just as an after-thought, in the days when Car­rus first took over the Aotea block, it was my un­der­stand­ing that a cer­tain num­ber of ‘‘af­ford­able’’ houses were to be built on part of the land. My mem­ory, of course, could be age­ing, like me, but I don’t think it is that bad. And all I see in Aotea are man­sions, man­sions, and now - townhouses! Whoop­di­dooo!

Kil­ian de Lacy

Levin

ELEC­TRIC TRAINS

There has been some news re­cently that the Main Line Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is to be dis­man­tled, and that all the trains are to be diesel-hauled. One won­ders what is be­hind the think­ing of the pro­po­nents of this scheme.

Would it not be bet­ter, cheaper, more ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient to have the track elec­tri­fied from Waikanae to Palmer­ston North, and from Hamil­ton to Auck­land, so that the whole North Is­land sys­tem is op­er­at­ing on power?

We pro­duce our own elec­tric­ity, rather than pay for the diesel to be im­ported from over­seas.

We can make our own elec­tric lo­co­mo­tives, which run far more qui­etly than the roar­ing diesels – and pro­duce no green­house gasses!

Brian Austin

Aotea

GREAT SHOW

The end of year dance show of the Deb­o­rah Hale School of Dance had me cap­tured from cur­tain up to clo­sure. The danc­ing was su­perb and right up to the minute with video and spe­cial ef­fects.

Hav­ing watched the devel­op­ment of dance for 20 years, I was im­pressed by the dancers’ use of drama in­ter­pre­ta­tions, high level of skills in­volv­ing song as well as aer­o­batic strength.

This per­for­mance was highly pro­fes­sional and I can only won­der at the pos­si­ble devel­op­ment of the stu­dents in­volved.

We have great tal­ent right here in Porirua City.

GMBrown

Otaki Cov­er­age of New Zealand’s role in the re­cent UN res­o­lu­tion on the Mid­dle East has been some­what ob­scured by the sea­sonal dis­trac­tions and the fo­cus on the hol­i­day road toll.

Too bad. Ar­guably, our work on the UN res­o­lu­tion cen­sur­ing Is­raeli set­tle­ments and Pales­tinian vi­o­lence has been New Zealand’s most high-pro­file achieve­ment on the world stage for many years.

True, the UN res­o­lu­tion is a largely sym­bolic ges­ture - no sanc­tions will be im­posed on Is­rael for non-com­pli­ance, and a freeze on set­tle­ments would be merely the first step in talks to­wards the highly the­o­ret­i­cal ‘two state’ so­lu­tion that Is­raeli premier Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has never wanted, or been able (given the ex­trem­ist na­ture of his gov­ern­ing coali­tion) to pur­sue, even if he had de­sired it.

To all in­tents, the ‘two state’ so­lu­tion has been a dead duck for years – but it does get hauled out and propped up again when­ever the UN pe­ri­od­i­cally con­cerns it­self with the equally fa­bled ‘peace process.’

So why did New Zealand feel it was worth get­ting in­volved in the word­ing and pro­mo­tion of this UN state­ment? The sim­ple an­swer is trade.

For any small na­tion, trade op­por­tu­ni­ties tend to be at the fore­front of its diplo­macy.

In this case, our role was driven by the eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in Iran, the Gulf States and Saudi Ara­bia that a crit­i­cal pub­lic stance on Is­raeli set­tle­ments in the Oc­cu­pied Ter­ri­to­ries might put within our grasp.

Ev­i­dently, these op­por­tu­ni­ties were seen as out­weigh­ing (a) the fury of the Is­raelis, and (b) the risk of end­ing up on the en­e­mies list of the in­com­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The sym­bol­ism of be­ing seen to sup­port the Pales­tini­ans – even if such ges­tures change lit­tle on the ground – is an im­por­tant re­gional theme.

Ap­pear­ing to be on­side with the suf­fer­ing Pales­tini­ans is a badge of cred­i­bil­ity for the regimes con­cerned even when – in the case of Saudi Ara­bia, Egypt and Jor­dan – this in­volves ongoing co-op­er­a­tion with Is­rael.

Ever since New Zealand tem­po­rar­ily joined the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil two years ago, For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Mur­ray McCully had been seek­ing a UN ini­tia­tive on Syria, and a res­o­lu­tion on the Is­rael/Pales­tine ques­tion.

Word­ings were con­stantly changed on the set­tle­ments res­o­lu­tion to en­sure the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion would not feel po­lit­i­cally im­pelled to veto it.

Re­port­edly, when McCully and Ne­tanyahu met in Is­rael late in 2016, New Zealand had been pro­mot­ing a milder ver­sion of the

‘‘For any small na­tion, trade op­por­tu­ni­ties tend to be at the fore­front of its diplo­macy.’’

fi­nal doc­u­ment.

McCully will re­main For­eign Min­is­ter un­til the end of April.

Re­plac­ing him on the eve of the UN vote would have been li­able to be mis­read, over­seas.

Ul­ti­mately, McCully might even achieve the Free Trade Agree­ment with Saudi Ara­bia that would vin­di­cate him per­son­ally over the Saudi sheep fi­asco, and bring down the cur­tain on his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer in tri­umph.

Some­times….do­ing what’s good for trade can co-in­cide with Do­ing What’s Right, even if that lat­ter bit is al­ways in the eye of the be­holder.

The Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, for ex­am­ple, was a US di­plo­matic ma­noeu­vre (against China) dis­guised as a trade pact.

For New Zealand, the UN res­o­lu­tion was the ex­act re­verse - a trade gam­bit dis­guised as a di­plo­matic ma­noeu­vre.

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