Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says there are too many "busy-bodies" on the international stage and believes New Zealand should avoid rattling too many chains at the UN.
Asked at a candidates debate in Auckland last night how New Zealand should take on the world if it had a seat on the UN Security Council, Mr Craig said he would want New Zealand to be "a safe pair of hands".
"I would pick the battles ... not everything would be something that we would rattle the chains on," he said.
Questioned on Israel's conflict in Gaza, Mr Craig said he would "throw the cat amongst the pigeons" with his opinion, saying New Zealand should abstain from getting involved.
"There are a lot of international busy-bodies and I don't want us to become one of those."
Mr Craig said during his foray into politics he had been "quite excited getting to know things about the world".
"I was in South Korea for the world peace conference where I had the opportunity to speak as a New Zealand delegate and I was amazed at how well I was received actually."
Also speaking at the debate, which was organised by Amnesty International, Internet Party leader Laila Harre said New Zealand had a relatively good record historical record on human rights.
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However, it had a "pretty dismal record" on children's rights and domestic abuse, which remained at "critically high levels", she said.
United Future candidate for Northcote Damian Light said the country remained a world leader in human rights, but there remained an unacceptable gap between policy and practice.
"We've taken in refugees, but we've failed to support them."
Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau, Te Hira Paenga, addressed the country's history through what he described as the lens of the Treaty, saying "institutional racism" remained prevalent in some mainstream institutions.
National Party MP for Wairarapa and Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman John Hayes, who is standing down from Parliament this year, clashed with the debate's host, Radio New Zealand's Wallace Chapman, over New Zealand's response to the issue of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka after Chapman described Foreign Minister Murray McCully's response as "spineless".