The Government should have passed a motion for New Zealand to recognise Palestine as a nation state, according to a Q+A panel this morning.
Before the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took hold in Gaza this week, the New Zealand Parliament voted down a motion by the Green Party to recognise the occupied territory as a nation state.
Former NZ First and National MP Tau Henare today told Q+A he believed it should have been recognised, saying, “What does it cost you to recognise somebody’s statehood? Nothing”.
A founding member of the Inclusive Aotearoa Collective, Anjum Rahman, agreed, saying, “If you say that you’re committed to a two-state solution then you have to recognise both of those states”.
“That recognition is hugely important, I think,” Rahman said.
“It costs nothing - it’s symbolic but it sends a signal about how important you think it is.”
Henare added, however, that supporting the motion wasn’t about New Zealand announcing who it recognised as the leader of Palestine.
“We shouldn’t go down the territory of picking who should lead their country - that’s not our business,” he said.
“If you believe in self-determination, there are all sorts of countries in the world that have hugely problematic governments and we don’t say, ‘We’re not going to recognise one as a state.’ We haven’t said we’re not recognising Myanmar as a state.”
Former Green Party co-leader and current Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman said he believes we "should be trying to contribute to as much as we can" to reach "some kind of peaceful solution".
Norman acknowledged the intricacies around New Zealand's traditional trade position with the Middle East, however.
"New Zealand’s traditional trade position, where we do sell significant trade into the Middle East, has meant that we have actually taken a more even-handed approach than, say, the United States, and part of that is linked to our trade into the Middle East,” he said.