The motion by deputy prime minister Winston Peters to call for “urgent steps towards establishing a ceasefire” in Gaza has passed in parliament, after the majority of amendments suggested by the opposition were rejected.
Labour leader Chris Hipkins said New Zealand should be calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire because it was the right thing to do.
“New Zealand should be sending a very clear message that the violence and the killing has to stop,” he said. “I think waiting until a ceasefire is already in existence before we call for one doesn’t show moral leadership.”
Greens’ foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman also said the motion being put forward by Peters didn’t go far enough, saying New Zealand should be demanding an immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire.
“We need aid to go into Gaza, we need the killing of civilians to stop,” she said.
“We will be seeking to insert the numbers of those killed, which at the moment for Palestinians has exceeded 16,000 people including 7,000 children. It’s at 1,200 for Israelis.”
The amendment was rejected alongside several others. The sole amendment accepted was put forward by Labour’s Phil Twyford, which added to the statement: “and that process must seek a just and lasting peace that recognises the existence and self-determination of Israelis and Palestinians. We call for the establishment of a free and independent Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution, with both nations having secure and recognised borders where all citizens have equal rights and freedoms”.