Peters: Nats began pact process
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.