Ardern greets UN General Assembly in te reo before stating NZ’s stance on the big issues – including the wretched veto

Buzz from the Beehive

The Beehive website treats us today to the speech – or “national statement – which our PM has delivered to the United Nations General Assembly.

The speech has been posted along with news about the government …

  • investing around $19 million to support upgrades at 30 of the 32 “potential” sporting facilities earmarked for New Zealand co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: and
  • announcing a strategy to enlist all government agencies in preserving Pacific languages.

The $19 million investment announced by Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson will support upgrades at “30 of the 32 potential sporting facilities earmarked for the tournament”, including pitch, lighting and facility enhancements, and gender-neutral changing spaces.

This suggests the Government does not know which sporting facilities will be used for the tournament but is investing the money regardless – just in case.

At least taxpayers aren’t picking up the full tab.  The venues and local councils are also contributing to the costs of these upgrades.

A breakdown of the Government’s investment by region/venue can be found in the press statement which also points readers to a full list of venues earmarked by FIFA for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 on FIFA’s website.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William announced the new Pacific Language Strategy, saying it is underpinned by a united approach across all-of-Government and has three objectives.

  • To recognise the value of Pacific languages in Aotearoa
  • To strengthen pathways and resources for learning, and learning in, Pacific languages
  • To see Pacific languages used more often and, in more spaces

The Strategy will be implemented through a Pacific Languages Government Action Plan and ethnic-specific Community Language Action Plans.

The press statement says the Government’s Pacific Languages Strategy 2022 – 2032 was launched at Parliament

“… in a cultural ceremony which included Minister Sio gifting the strategy to youth leaders.”

A gift (according to this definition) is

“…  something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation”.

Somebody picked up the tab, presumably – taxpayers, no doubt. But the price is not mentioned in the press statement.

What might be entailed in terms of costs and resources can be gauged from the acknowledgement that the Press Release has been translated into nine Pacific languages.

We wonder if anyone will be translating the PM’s speech to the United Nations into nine Pacific languages.

The first 52 words were in te reo and her salutation accounted for 77 or 115 words, depending on where you think the introductory pleasantries end and the speech begins.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss disposed of the introductory pleasantries in her speech to the UN in just seven words.

The average speaker will deliver 140-odd words in one minute.

In her first minute, Jacinda Ardern said:

“E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā kua huihui mai nei i tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao

“Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa, mai i tōku Whenua o Aotearoa

“Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, ka Rongo to pō ka rongo te ao

“Nō reira, tēnā koutou kātoa

“Mr President,

“Mr Secretary-General,

“Friends,

“I greet you in te reo Māori, the language of the tangata whenua, or first people, of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“I acknowledge the leaders who are here, gathered in person after a long and difficult period.

“And as is tradition, in my country, I also acknowledge those who have passed.

“Loss brings with it a chance for reflection.

“And as leaders, between us we each represent countries and communities who have lost much in these past few years. Through famine, severe weather, natural disasters and a pandemic.”

Within her first minute, Liz Truss said:

“Mr President, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

“At the time of its foundation, the United Nations was a beacon of promise.

“In the aftermath of the Second World War, this building symbolised the end of aggression.

“For many decades the UN has helped to deliver stability and security in much of the world.

“It has provided a place for nations to work together on shared challenges.

“And authoritarian states are undermining stability and security around the world.

“Geopolitics is entering a new era – one that requires those who believe in the founding principles of the United Nations to stand up and be counted.

“And it has promoted the principles of sovereignty and self-determination even through the Cold War and its aftermath.

“But today those principles, that have defined our lives since the dark days of the 1940s, are fracturing.”

Truss made no mention of Covid.

Ardern, however, said the pandemic had taken millions of lives, continues to impact on our economies and the wellbeing of our people, and

“… it set us back in our fight against the crisis of climate change and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals while we looked to the health crisis in front of us.

“And while we enter a period now where the crisis is subsiding, the lessons cannot.

“COVID schooled us.

“It forced us to acknowledge how interconnected, and therefore how reliant we are on one another.”

And:

“The lessons of COVID, are in many ways the same as the lessons of climate change.

“When crisis is upon us, we cannot and will not solve these issues on our own.

“The next pandemic will not be prevented by one country’s efforts, but by all of ours. Climate action will only ever be as successful as the least committed country, as they pull down the ambition of the collective.”

Ardern’s call for collective action, strengthened international health regulations and a strong and empowered World Health Organisation was a segue to her championing

  • The World Trade Organisation and its reform, to ensure supply chains remain open and critical goods and services are not subjected to protectionism in times of need.
  • The Paris Agreement to address climate change.

This paved the way for her to press for reform of the United Nations.

She denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine not only as illegal and immoral but also as a direct attack on the UN Charter and the international rules-based system

“… and everything that this community should stand for.

“In March when we most needed the UN Security Council to act in the defence of international peace and security, it could not. It did not fulfil its mandate because of one permanent member who was willing to abuse its privileged position.

“That was wrong.

“We will not give up on the ability of our multilateral institutions to stand up against this illegal war, or to take on the many challenges we face. 

“These institutions are the ballast we need, but it’s a ballast that requires modernisation, fit for the tumultuous waters we all face.

“That is why New Zealand was pleased to champion the Veto Initiative. Not only does it provide an opportunity to scrutinise the actions of the permanent member who cast a veto, the Veto Initiative gives the whole UN membership a voice where the Security Council has been unable to act.”

New Zealand is calling for the veto to be abolished and Permanent Members of the UN to exercise their responsibility for the benefit of international peace and security, rather than the pursuit of national interest.

Ardern also emphasised NZ’s history of championing a prohibition on nuclear weapons.

“The only way to guarantee our people that they will be safe from the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, is for them not to exist.”

She called on all states to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

“Nuclear weapons do not make us safer.

“There will be those who agree but believe it is simply too hard to rid ourselves of nuclear weapons at this juncture. There is no question that nuclear disarmament is an enormous challenge. But if given the choice, and we are being given a choice, surely, we would choose the challenge of disarmament than the consequences of a failed strategy of weapons-based deterrence.

“And this is why we will continue to advocate for meaningful progress on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Progress and consensus that was recently blocked by Russia – and represented a backwards step to the efforts of nearly every country in the world to make some even limited progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Ardern – inevitably – raised the issue of violent extremism and terrorist content being promoted on the internet explaining why, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron,  the Christchurch Call to Action was established.

“The Call Community has worked together to address terrorism and violent extremist content online. As this important work progresses, we have demonstrated the impact we can have by working together collaboratively.”

She wrapped up expressing her belief there is cause for optimism.

“Because for every new weapon we face, there is a new tool to overcome it.

“For every attempt to push the world into chaos, is a collective conviction to bring us back to order.

“We have the means; we just need the collective will.

“Mai i tōku ukaipo Aotearoa, karahuihui mai tātou, nō reira, tēnā tātou kātoa.

“Nō reira, tēnā kotou, tēnā kotou tēnā tatou kātoa.”

Liz Truss (more simply) wrapped up on an optimistic note, too:

“Together with our friends and allies around the world, we will continue to champion freedom, sovereignty and democracy.

“And together we can define this new era as one of hope and progress.

“Thank you.”

Latest from the Beehive

Speech

24 SEPTEMBER 2022

United Nations General Assembly National Statement

Loss brings with it a chance for reflection. And as leaders, between us we each represent countries and communities who have lost much in these past few years. Through famine, severe weather, natural disasters and a pandemic.

23 SEPTEMBER 2022

New strategy unifies all-of-Government approach to help Pacific languages thrive

A united approach across all-of-Government underpins the new Pacific Language Strategy, announced by the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio at Parliament today.

Upgrades for sporting facilities ahead of FIFA Women’s World Cup

Communities across the country will benefit from newly upgraded sporting facilities as a result of New Zealand co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

 

 

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