Prime Minister’s address to President Zelenskyy
Tena koutou katoa,
Kia ora Mr President
On behalf of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, thank you.
Yours is a country at war and you are at the helm, leading your people through a crisis.
Sharing time with us under those circumstances is a sacrifice, and one we do not take lightly. But I hope that in response to the address that you have given today, that you hear loudly and clearly that yours is not a forgotten war.
And nothing could be more emblematic of that I hope, than so many parties of the New Zealand parliament, on the other side of the world coming together to condemn Russia’s war, and stand firmly and clearly with you.
Our support for Ukraine was not determined by geography. It was not determined by history or by diplomatic ties or relationships. Our judgement was a simple one.
We asked ourselves the question, what if it was us. What if it was us that experienced a breach of our territorial integrity? What if it was us that was the subject of such a breach of the international rules based order? Of the blatant misuse of multilateral institutions?
We would want the international community to use their voice, regardless of their political system, their distance, or their size. And so that is what we have done, by supporting Ukraine in the most practical ways possible.
Mr President, you have our soldiers training yours in the United Kingdom.
We have provided medical supplies and personal equipment for those in the field.
Our assets have helped to move supplies around the region at some of the most critical points of the conflict.
But we have also done what we can to hold Russia to account for their actions.
As you acknowledged, we passed the Russia Sanctions Act to implement unilateral sanctions for the first time ever.
We have put in place extensive travel bans.
We have committed to join Ukraine’s case against Russia at the international court of justice and provided funding to the international criminal court to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
But those who support Russia must also be challenged.
Just this morning we announced sanctions against Iran, who are complicit in the supply of drones to Russia. They will now be the third country sanctioned under the Russia Sanctions Act, alongside Russia and Belarus.
We have looked to support citizens in Ukraine with a special visa to ensure our Ukrainian community can bring their family members here, of which more than 1,100 have now been granted, and with humanitarian aid to support those who remain in country.
And with the onset of winter and with energy supply used as a weapon of war, New Zealand today pledges further assistance to the people of Ukraine.
We are committing an additional $3 million through the International Committee of the Red Cross, to support your people with basic humanitarian needs.
Needs like medical supplies and equipment, power transformers and generators to cope with blackouts, and essential winter items for vulnerable families in Ukraine, like food, water and sanitation and hygiene items.
This is in additional to the $7.9 million we’ve provided to support Ukrainian communities.
Our ambition remains a region and world that returns to peace and stability.
This war must not become the gateway to a more polarised and dangerous world for generations to come.
Our solidarity with Ukraine is matched by our resolve to strengthen the international institutions that govern us and to accelerate disarmament.
New Zealand has a history in the space of reconstruction post conflict that includes remediation such as dealing with unexploded ordnance.
We are with you as you seek peace, and we will be with you when you rebuild.
Mr President I want to acknowledge your further calls for support, especially around the long term impacts of war, including the long term impact on the environment.
President Zelenskyy, we acknowledge the people of Ukraine. Those who are fighting and protecting their country, those who are taking care of their families and others.
We acknowledge the impending hardships of winter.
But we also acknowledge you.
You have been unrelenting in your ongoing support of your country, your people, and your army. You continue an ongoing battle with unparalleled determination. You have coordinated an international response. You have united those who act in the interests of the rules based order.
New Zealanders recognise your persistence for your citizens and your country, and we support you.
Kia Kaha, Kia Maia, Kia Manawanui, Be strong, be brave, be steadfast.