Peters: Nats be­gan pact process

The Press - - National - Col­lette Devlin and Henry Cooke

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Win­ston Peters has crit­i­cised Na­tional MPs for at­tack­ing a United Na­tions pact on mi­gra­tion, which he says they ini­ti­ated in 2016.

This week Na­tional Party leader Si­mon Bridges said if his party was in gov­ern­ment, it would pull out of the UN’s Global Com­pact on Mi­gra­tion be­cause of its po­ten­tial to re­strict New Zealand’s abil­ity to set its own mi­gra­tion and for­eign pol­icy.

He called on the Gov­ern­ment to out­line its po­si­tion on the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal ne­go­ti­ated agree­ment, which is set to be signed in Mo­rocco next week.

Peters told Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day Cab­i­net had not yet made a de­ci­sion on the now-con­tro­ver­sial pact, which was the re­sult of a process Na­tional be­gan in Gov­ern­ment in 2016.

Peters said.

Out­side the de­bat­ing cham­ber Peters said Na­tional’s doc­u­ment gave rise to the cur­rent pact and was the pri­mary doc­u­ment that started the whole process. ‘‘It said it would work to­wards a pa­per com­pleted in 2018 and that’s the pa­per now,’’ he said. ‘‘The Na­tional Party is out there com­plain­ing about a process and doc­u­ment that they were the orig­i­na­tors of and were go­ing hap­pily along with un­til they thought they would get some po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage.’’

Na­tional’s for­eign af­fairs spokesman, Todd McClay, asked Peters if he was aware the agree­ment made no dis­tinc­tion be­tween le­gal and il­le­gal mi­gra­tion and called for re­stric­tions on free­dom of speech and the me­dia.

Peters said he had stud­ied the al­le­ga­tions, which had been made by some coun­tries and some peo­ple in a world­wide cam­paign.

‘‘Both those al­le­ga­tions are demon­stra­bly false,’’ he told the House. Out­side the House, McClay re­jected any sug­ges­tion Na­tional had signed up to an agree­ment in 2016 that had led to this pact.

‘‘A lot of New Zealan­ders have the same con­cerns that Aus­tralia, the United States, and more than 15 other coun­tries do.’’

Green Party for­eign af­fairs spokes­woman Gol­riz Ghahra­man called the Na­tional Party stance ‘‘ab­so­lute fear-mon­ger­ing’’.

‘‘When you look at the coun­tries that they’ve noted that have pulled out you’ve got Don­ald Trump, Is­rael, and some of the East­ern Eu­ro­pean na­tions that have had a rise in that same rhetoric of pop­ulism.

‘‘The com­pact is an agree­ment that New Zealand would join to have a con­ver­sa­tion about mi­gra­tion with other coun­tries.

‘‘It ac­tu­ally opens with reaf­firm­ing ev­ery­one’s sovereignty.

‘‘It’s ab­so­lutely not a threat to sovereignty. It’s about hav­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach and talk­ing to each other about a global is­sue ... Canada is do­ing it, Europe is do­ing it; we need to [counter] the pol­i­tics of xeno­pho­bia and hate.’’

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Win­ston Peters says the pact jour­ney was started by the pre­vi­ous Na­tional Gov­ern­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.