UN boss lands in NZ; dodges questions of NZ support for Iraq airstrikes

By Patrice Dougan

Prime Minister John Key meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at Auckland Airport this morning. Photo / Chris Gorman
Prime Minister John Key meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at Auckland Airport this morning. Photo / Chris Gorman

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has dodged questions about whether New Zealand's backing of US air strikes in Iraq would affect its chance of a seat on the security council.

Mr Ban is in New Zealand for a two-day visit following a small island development conference in Samoa.

New Zealand is bidding for a seat on the UN Security Council in October.

But Mr Ban said he could not weigh into the issue of whether New Zealand would be successful.

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"I'm aware New Zealand is very much enthusiastic to serve on the security council," he said. "As you may appreciate, as the secretary-general I'm not in a position to say anything.

"This is a matter to be decided by the member states.

"At the same time I'm aware of how actively you have been engaging and how actively you have been contributing to issues of international security and development and human rights issues since 1945 [when the UN was founded]."

Asked if New Zealand's moral backing of US airstrikes in Iraq could hinder the bid, he dodged the question, saying: "I hope that this security situation, as it develops, should be discussed more at the security council how the international community can have a more concerted way [of dealing with it], but at the same time when a situation really blows out like this, it's also important to contain the further spread of this political instability and security instability.

"And [because of] that I really appreciate those countries who have the capacity for, and have been addressing, the counter terrorism issues."

- APNZ

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