The Green Party is deeply disturbed at the Government’s decision to deploy New Zealand defence force staff to the Red Sea.
“Aotearoa New Zealand has a proud history of being a voice for peace on the global stage. Now more than ever we need that voice to be loud and strong - and our actions to be focused on de-escalation of violence, not fueling further conflict where ordinary people will be affected most. We are horrified at this Government’s decision to further inflame tensions in the Middle East by sending New Zealand Defence Force personnel to the Red Sea,” says co-leaders of the Green Party, Marama Davidson and James Shaw.
“The international community has an obligation to protect peace and human rights. Right now, what we are witnessing in the Middle East is a regional power play between different state and non-state groups. This decision is only likely to inflame tensions. It is ordinary people who want to live their lives in peace, mums and dads who just want to make sure their kids have access to meals and can go to school, who suffer the most.
“It seems inconceivable for this government to be so dangerously naïve to say that this deployment has nothing to do with the horrific violence that continues to suffocate Gaza. The Government should be using every opportunity to push for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
"When the US asks us to support their military operation, questions need to be asked about the strategic interests the US is prioritising and whether these align with the clear support of the New Zealand people for our defence force to be focused on peacebuilding and enduring justice.
“A world without war is possible, but it requires enduring commitments by all nations to peacebuilding and diplomacy. New Zealand may be a small nation, but we must never lose focus on doing everything we can build lasting peace. All countries – including New Zealand – must urgently cooperate with UN peace efforts and step up for human rights and peace.
“The very least people should expect of their government is that if they are going to knowingly send defence force personnel into a situation that could inflame global conflict it is first debated by elected representatives. The Green Party will be seeking an urgent debate on the issue as soon as possible. We will also continue to push Ministers and officials to keep up efforts to de-escalate the conflict using whatever channels are available to the Government,” says Marama Davidson and James Shaw.