Dunne: Our foreign policy lacks any commitment to human rights

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, September 30th, 2015 - 32 comments
Categories: accountability, Ethics, International, peter dunne - Tags: , , ,

Peter Dunne seems to be having an attack of conscience:

Dunne Speaks

Our foreign policy lacks any commitment to human rights. A bold conclusion maybe, but the most realistic one to be drawn from a couple of recent events where New Zealand appears to have been caught on the hop.

First was the appallingly tardy response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Even though the mounting tragedy had been filling our television screens for some days, our government appeared to miss its significance and any sense of obligation on New Zealand’s part to assist. Indeed, it seemed to be only the strong public reaction that finally jolted it to take any action at all.

Now, this week there been the saga of the New Zealanders being held in Australian detention camps prior to deportation here. Our response has been to send a text to the Australians about what is going on. I am not standing up for Australian criminals who happen to have been born in New Zealand, but the treatment being meted out to them is excessive and out of line with the vaunted special relationship between our two countries.

However, these two incidents are not isolated cases. They are symptomatic of a general malaise when it comes to standing up for human rights internationally.

While the pursuit of enlightened self-interest is a legitimate foreign policy goal, it needs to be balanced by some objectivity. In recent years though our foreign policy has become too craven and trade-focussed and lacking a moral compass. In short, we have become too silent, lest we cause offence.

But relying on quiet words in diplomatic ears; nods and winks; pull-asides; text messages, or whatever, is not the way to conduct foreign policy. We have a right to expect our foreign policy to be evocative of our independence and nationhood by upholding human rights and dignity, and to stand up for New Zealanders when and where necessary. It is time to abandon the chin-dripping subservience we are lapsing into.

Fine words Peter Dunne, very fine indeed. But our foreign policy is the creation of our government, and you are part of that government. Why are you propping it up? Actions speak louder than words…

32 comments on “Dunne: Our foreign policy lacks any commitment to human rights”

  1. John Shears 1


  2. Bill 2

    So Dunne will be a vocal opponent over the existence of the detention centres on Manus and Nauru as well as the one on Christmas Island?

  3. Amy 3

    ‘Why are you propping it up’ I think that line beautifully sums up Dunne! But sadly not just with this issue but so many others also. Sanctimonious hypocrit for some reason spring to mind.

    • savenz 3.1

      +1 -although better late than never.

      • tc 3.1.1

        Never too late for hypocrisy from the ‘willing seller’ propping up the shonky regime.

        Dunne is a good fit for nact with his flexible moral approach and those flea bites must be annoying sometimes.

      • Rob 3.1.2

        Yes Dunne decided to join National
        He doesn’t deserve any respect
        If he has a conscience then he should stop being a Nat proxy

    • aerobubble 3.2

      Its a characteristic of nz politics that third rails, designed purely to take over and capture oppositional issues and safely neutralize them. What are the SST or rage over taxpayer money being spent. The media happily runs to pro-governing factions for their rage over some issue, that an opposition would make theirs otherwise.
      Kiwi treatment in oz has been silence since 02. And Labour wonders why it can’t get traction.

  4. Amy 4

    ‘Why are you propping it up’ (the government). I think that line beautifully sums up Dunne! But sadly not just with this issue but so many others also. Sanctimonious hypocrit for some reason spring to mind.

  5. tracey 5

    How many years has he sat on Government benches? It seems he is reminding us just how over-paid and ineffective he is. Or maybe he’s just woken up?

    • Jenny Kirk 5.1

      No – he’s suddenly found a focus group who is telling him they don’t like this govt’s dismissal of human rights …… and maybe, just maybe … they might be looking elsewhere for the 2017 vote.

    • AmaKiwi 5.2

      “How many years has he sat on Government benches?”

      Long enough to know it’s time to create some distance between himself and the Nats or he get tossed out at the next election.

      Please notice he’s “creating distance from the Nats” on an issue of little concern to most voters.

  6. Paul 6

    Dunne has made this inhumane, neoliberal government possible for 7 years.
    A bit late for his conscience now.

  7. Puckish Rogue 7

    I’m seeing in the future a strong National candidate going up for election in Ohariu next time

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      And would lose like they have done every time before. Its a 3 way race and Dunne has been around forever and seems to be liked locally.

      They would crush him like a fly if they thought they could…. so dream on

      • Puckish Rogue 7.1.1

        They haven’t needed to crush him as hes been good support for the govt. but with the rise of Winston Peters Dunne won’t be needed

        • dukeofurl

          be that as it may, Dunne supports whoever is PM.

          You were suggesting that they will try to unseat him…. even if they dont need him, fat chance.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Maybe the left could support a National MP to get rid of Peter Dunne, tactical voting and all 🙂

  8. Westiechick 8

    ok so he is a hypocrite. But he is also right. I really wondered why National wanted a seat on the Security Council as they do not see it in NZ’s best interests to take stands on things. Or tell China/Russia/USA off or whatever. Better to keep our heads down and sell butter.

    • savenz 8.1

      Only we are not selling butter, we are making people redundant in Fonterra and giving the CEO an 18% payrise while turnover is down, corporate welfare on TPP which will be nothing anyway for us, just a massive and secret assault to the country.

      Now probably selling a 50% share and more importantly control, in our next bigger exporter Silver Fern Farms to a Chinese company.

      We are losing in every direction. No morals and look like a dumbo lackey of both China for trade and the US for spying, spying on others, not doing our bit for climate change or refugees.

      Obsessed by trade, but poor at doing deals that benefit us.

      Our country run by a rich golfer – making stupid deals with his buddies and financing his lifestyle by debt and selling the countries silver.

      The NZ governemnt are nobodies who have nothing to contribute as they send the dumbest ministers to do the deals and can’t understand them anyway.

      NZ is an international joke and embarrassment.

  9. National play Dunne for the fool that he is.

    And in the meantime we pay the useless so and so.

  10. Keith 10

    He’ll keep on propping up this government anyway and they know it. They own him!

    • tc 10.1

      Yup JK probably points to that drawer he’s alluded to and poodle boy peter wags his tail and falls into line with a show for the sheeple about how he ‘negotiated’ a deal.

  11. Clean_power 11

    Mr Dunne has only a conscience when he wants to sell himself. The MP is an unashamed mercenary.

  12. NZJester 12

    He will parade about like a peacock with his feathers all up, but when it comes to a vote to do something about these kind of things his words do not match his actions.

  13. Mike the Savage One 13

    Indeed, when does Dunne jump ship? If he has principles, and he quotes some examples here, take action and stand for what you say.

    Or is this just directed at the MSM and wider public, to make him appear having principles?

    • Grindlebottom 13.1

      Probably nothing more complicated than his spotting an opportunity to get some media attention. Otherwise he just tends to fade into the background and be forgotten about. It’s not like he’ll do anything more than say what he’s just said.

  14. emergency mike 14

    “Willing seller, willing buyer.”

    Is all that needs to be said.

  15. Stuart Munro 15

    The left should stand a panda in Ohairu – cheaper and more principled than Dunne. More charismatic too.

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