NZ Govt fiddles while Gaza burns

Green MP Keith Locke has criticised the New Zealand Government for its silence on the bombardment of Gaza.

“While other governments work around the clock on the issue, ours has gone missing,” said Mr Locke, Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.

“No formal statement has been issued, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry website has nothing on the Gaza crisis.

“Hopefully, this press statement will embarrass our government to issue its own statement, although it will be a week and 400 lives too late.

“New Zealand should be providing some moral leadership amid an insipid response from other Western nations. The Bush administration is backing Israel’s murderous assault, and European nations are restricting themselves to calling on both sides to cease fire.

“Of course, we want both sides to stop the violence. But the pressure should be focused on Israel, which is causing such massive destruction and 99% of the casualties.

“It is clearly a war crime for the Israeli government to target mosques, universities, TV stations, police stations, government buildings and the private homes of political leaders.

“It also makes a mockery of New Zealand’s participation in a ‘war on terror’ to allow such obvious state terrorism to pass without comment.

“Now is the time for New Zealand to stand up and be counted. The people of Gaza need us to speak out.

“There is hope for peace if the bombing stops. The Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has offered talks on outstanding issues when there is a ceasefire and the blockade of Gaza is lifted.

“New Zealand is getting left behind by Australia, which has just announced it is giving an extra $A5 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. New Zealand needs to urgently up its aid to Gaza, given the dire situation of the people there,” said Mr Locke.