After the Christchurch earthquakes, Opposition Leader Phil Goff complained that he hadn’t been briefed about alleged Israeli spies. It was subsequently revealed on this blog that he had been briefed. What it did show though was that on matters affecting foreign policy especially relating to Israel convention dictates that the leader of the opposition should be briefed. When New Zealand took the lead in sponsoring UN resolution 2334 as the chair of the UN Security Council it should have been incumbent of foreign minister Murray McCully or at the very least a senior MFaT official to brief Labour leader Andrew Little and his foreign affairs spokesperson David Parker.
We put these questions to Andrew Little:
- Were you were briefed by anyone, including Murray McCully and/or Bill English and/or John Key?
- If you were briefed were you given full details of the process and resolution and did the briefing match what happened in reality?
- If you weren’t briefed why do you think they didn’t brief you?
- When John Kerry visited in November were you briefed on the contents of discussions with Murray McCully?
Andrew Little’s response is below in full and unedited:
Hi, Juana, taking your points one at a time; in my slightly more than two years as Leader of the Opposition I have not had a foreign affairs briefing on any evolving issue. When he was foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer was involved in the efforts to win support for our temporary seat on the Security Council, but that has been the extent of it.
I had no prior briefing on the recent resolution on Israel. I have not been able to confirm whether David Parker, our current foreign affairs spokesperson, was briefed but he was in contact with me about unrelated matters during the lead up to the resolution so I doubt he was. The fact that NZ (along with Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela) picked up the resolution in very short order after Egypt dropped it suggests there would have been little time to brief anyone.
In any event, Labour supports the two-state solution and shares widespread concern here and around the world at the persistent settlement programme on occupied land and how this is putting the two-state solution in jeopardy.
In regard to John Kerry, I have not been briefed on his meeting with Murray McCully. I have never been briefed on any meeting he has had with his equivalents overseas.