CLINTON THANKS NZ FOR HELP TO SETTLE ARREARS WITH UNPrime Minister
New Zealand continues to make a big impact in our own small way in regional and international stability, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.
"National is committed to taking every opportunity to contribute. We are proactive in trade development so we can sell more to the world. We are maintaining and expanding our defence force so we can participate in peace keeping and peace making activities. And we are continuing international diplomatic efforts that will contribute to economic and political stability.
"National has made massive progress in all these areas in the last two years.
"New Zealand is helping to move forward the longstanding issue of unpaid dues between the United States and the United Nations, by withdrawing our candidacy for a seat on the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions of the United Nations. In order to get a United States representative on the committee, President Clinton had sought our assistance in order to help him in putting the case to Congress for the payment of US levies to the UN.
"We are very keen to see these dues paid, and for that reason New Zealand stepped aside in the interests of the greater good for the international community.
"New Zealand's view is that everyone involved in the UN plays their part, including paying the running costs of the UN. For that reason anything that NZ can do to ensure that one of the United Nations most important members contributes fairly is worth doing.
"Just last week I received a letter from President Clinton personally thanking us for helping to move the issue forward. President Clinton said that New Zealand's actions would be critical to his efforts to work with the US Congress to pay their UN arrears.
"With Don McKinnon and Mike Moore taking on important world positions, and New Zealand's contribution to resolving issues in East Timor, plus the success of APEC, we can also feel proud that our country continues to cut it on the world stage.
"Our down to earth attitude and low key approach work well amongst a diverse range of people and situations around the world.
"New Zealanders need to recognise the important role Don McKinnon has played in the UN over his past 10 years as Foreign Minister including working with the US on the UN budget impasse.
"Don will start his new job as Commonwealth Secretary-General next year knowing that he has left behind a legacy in New Zealand foreign relations unparalleled in our history. His standing in the world community and particularly the Pacific is second to none. The peace that currently exists in Bougainville is just one of many challenges that Don has overcome for the good of his nation, his region and the world.
"Both Don McKinnon and Mike Moore leave big shoes to fill but they have left a country which has reopened itself to the world and is aware of the importance of trade and our role in an international economy.
"Only National will continue to move New Zealand forward and play our part in the world community. Labour/Alliance are weak on defence, protectionist in trade terms and will watch others stride head whilst New Zealand gets into ideological debates at the expense of economic prosperity and job growth.
"We cannot afford to go back," Mrs Shipley said.