Goodbye McCully, Hello Minister Brownlee

May 8, 2017

On 1 May, New Zealand said goodbye to Murray McCully who ended his tenure as Foreign Minister and welcomed in Gerry Brownlee. On the 30 April, McCully gave an interview about his time as Foreign Minister to Jessica Mutch, in which he spoke about United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. McCully, whilst not divulging the exact content, admitted that the conversation he had with Prime Minister Netanyahu prior to the resolution being submitted “left [him] in no doubt about the strength of the prime minister’s feelings”.

When asked why he chose to co-sponsor the resolution, McCully responded, “I’m aware that some people have got exotic explanations as to what actually happened, but the truth is somewhat simpler. There was a resolution put on the table. They weren’t our words. Actually, we’d tried to get some constructive language that we thought was better. And we simply failed to get acceptance by any of the parties for that. And somebody else put something on the table, and we judged it on its merits”. So basically McCully has admitted that despite knowing the wording was problematic, failing to get it changed and having the Israeli Prime Minister strongly protest to a supposed ally, he basically thought what the hell, let’s do it anyway!

In the year or so proceeding the resolution, the Zionist Federation understands that McCully had been to Israel and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu more times than any other Foreign Minister across the globe. So despite his access to the Israeli Prime Minister, despite him acknowledging trying and failing to “get some constructive language that we thought was better”, and being told in no uncertain times by Prime Minister Netanyahu what he thought about New Zealand’s involvement, McCully still felt it appropriate to co-sponsor the one sided anti-Israel resolution. A resolution which was voted on during the first night of Chanukah, a week before New Zealand’s term on the Security Council was to finish, during a lame duck US Presidency period, and when the New Zealand parliament was not in session. One can only wonder and speculate why?

But now McCully has departed his position as Foreign Minister, and we welcome in Minister Gerry Brownlee. And what a breath of fresh air. Within two days of becoming Foreign Minister, the Hon Gerry Brownlee has already made direct contact with the Israeli Prime Minister to begin repairing the damage caused by McCully. A move which will also look at how New Zealand can be represented at the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of Be’er Sheva this October.

Minister Brownlee was also interviewed on RNZ and whilst he would not comment as to whether or not he thought Resolution 2334, or New Zealand’s part in co-sponsoring it was right or wrong, it is clear that he did indeed feel it was a mistake. As we have come to expect, the anti-Israel brigade have already taken to social media condemning him and making many unsavoury comments about Minister Brownlee and Israel. It may, therefore, be a good time to write to Minister Brownlee congratulating him on his stance and the new direction he is taking as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade