Winston lacks spine on America – another disappointment from an MP who should know better


On 22 September this year, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, received an email from the Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand also published on Scoop and on Kia Ora Gaza’s website regarding a speech made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton to the Federalist Society on 10 September, in which he outlined the Trump Administration’s clear commitment to undermine the efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to provide justice for those who are victims of alleged serious international crimes.

We asked Mr Peters for a clear and reasonably prompt response to our questions concerning the alarming tenor of Bolton’s speech and present US policy regarding US relations with the ICC. We also asked the Foreign Affairs Minister for clear indications of New Zealand’s policy in defence of Palestinian human rights and international law. We also explained that our readers would be informed accordingly. The Foreign Affairs Minister took over two months to respond to our questions. Below please read: First, the full text of the email we sent to Winston Peters, followed by what could only be described as a perfunctory and dismissive reply from the Foreign Affairs Minister that made no attempt to answer any of our questions.

Open Request to Winston Peters for clear statement of policy regarding US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s speech to the Federalist Society

From Leslie Bravery,
Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand

22 September 2018

Mr Peters,

We ask you to respond to a speech made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton to the Federalist Society on 10 September 2018, in which he outlined the Trump Administration’s clear commitment to undermine the efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to provide justice for those who are victims of alleged serious international crimes. Mr Bolton made specific reference to Israel in the speech, criticising the possibility of an ICC investigation into alleged international crimes committed by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, including a possible investigation into the construction of illegal settlements, which he referred to as ‘housing projects’. John Bolton’s speech also referred to the United States’ decision to close the Palestinian Liberation Office in Washington DC as being partly due to the PLO’s intention to engage the ICC in a criminal investigation.

Particularly alarming were the threats made by Mr Bolton as he reached the conclusion of his speech, when he said:

“This afternoon, we also make a new pledge to the American people. If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies we will not sit quietly. We will take the following steps, among others, in accordance with the American Service Members Protection Act and other legal authorities.

“We will negotiate even more binding bilateral legal agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering US persons to the ICC and we will ensure those we already have entered are honoured by our counterpart governments.

“We will respond against the ICC and its personnel to the extent permitted by US law.

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States.

“We will sanction their funds in the US financial system and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system.

“We will do the same for any company or State that assists an ICC investigation of Americans. We will take note if any countries co-operate with ICC investigations of the US and its allies and we will remember that co-operation when setting US foreign assistance, military assistance and intelligence sharing levels . . .”

Such language expressed towards independent prosecutors, members of the judiciary, sovereign states and a legitimately-constituted international court, dedicated to justice and the rule of law, calls into question whether the United States remains committed to the demand for accountability for crimes that violate international law. The New Zealand Government has a clear duty to disassociate itself from such destabilising views.

We urge our government to make clear New Zealand’s position regarding our country’s support for the ICC, and we ask for clear answers to the following questions:

■ will the New Zealand Government provide a public statement reaffirming our robust and unwavering commitment to securing justice for victims and survivors of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity?

■ will the New Zealand Government publicly express opposition to the steps announced by the US Government National Security Adviser, Mr John Bolton, that the US will prosecute and place other sanctions against ICC personnel, including prosecutors and Judges, and also nations or companies who support ICC investigative efforts?

■ is the New Zealand Government willing to urge, both directly and at international fora, that the US reverse its opposition to the ICC and abandon the threat of punitive measures?

■ will the New Zealand Government declare that it supports the work of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC in examining alleged serious international crimes committed in the Occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza? We also ask the Government to further affirm that such support would also extend, in principle, to a possible decision to open any full criminal investigation.

We ask for a clear and reasonably prompt response to this request, and our readers will be informed accordingly. The full text of Bolton’s speech can be read here:

Winston Peters’ reply to our email:

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Dear Leslie Bravery

Thank you for your email of 22 September 2018

New Zealand is a long-standing supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its mandate to bring those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern to account.

As a member of the ICC, New Zealand continues to support the Court in the exercise of this core mandate.

Yours sincerely


Winston Peters

[Dated 26 November 2018]

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Leslie Bravery
Leslie Bravery is a Londoner with vivid World War Two memories of the Nazi blitz on his home town. In 1947/1948 His father explained to him what was happening to the Palestinians thus: “Any ideology or political movement that creates refugees in the process of realising its ambitions must be inhuman and should be opposed and condemned as unacceptable.” What followed confirmed this assessment of the Zionist entity a hundredfold. Now a retired flamenco guitarist, with a lifelong interest in the tragedy of what happened to the Palestinian people, he tries to publicise their plight. Because the daily injustices they suffer barely get a mention in the mainstream news media, Leslie edits/compiles a daily newsletter, In Occupied Palestine, for the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. These days, to preserve his sanity, he enjoys taking part in a drama group whenever possible!


  1. But “we” asked nothing about the largest dictatorship on planet Earth and its colonisation of No Zealand, because “we” quite like our rising property values:)

    *crickets chirping*

  2. John Bolton needs a penis extension. That’d shut him up and keep him happy.
    Go you! @Leslie Bravery.
    How quaint? That you think winston peters cares about what you request.
    peters used 49 words of content in his reply. What’s he doing with those other words he could use?
    Spitting viciousness at reporters who challenge his venality?
    How about formally and publicly asking peters if he isn’t so much a politician with a noble heart trying to do the ‘ right’ thing by us, and them, out of the almost uniquely human trait of empathy and instead is he a Machiavellian type running deep state defence for those crooked scumbags who ripped us off back in the ’80’s? He legendarily achieves nothing for us, who pay him, while the NBR rich listers get ever richer.
    They’re the ones who live fabulously comfortable lives in beautiful houses as our whanau and Brothers and Sisters sleep, addicted, abused and lost in the gutters.

    Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, humanist, writer, playwright and poet of the Renaissance period. He has often been called the father of modern political science. Wikipedia.
    Quote : Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.

    Who was the banker for the crooks implicated in alledgedly laundering dirty money through the Cook Islands?
    #1 To avoid taxation and #2 To avoid uncomfortable questions of how those crooks came by such large, sweet mountains of money?
    It was Citibank wasn’t it?? Yes. Yes it was and there were others too. If I remember correctly, the bnz was alledgedly implicated also. The same bnz that became fay/richwhite’s plaything at the NZ/AO taxpayers expense, in more ways than one. ( I’m sorry Leslie Bravery. But lest we forget. )
    ‘The Wine Box Inquiry’ fiasco hasn’t gone away. It’s just been buried under layer upon layer of bull shit and winston peters is the Master plasterer.
    He will see his having to pretend to deal with the day to day responsibilities of his portfolio, as in this instance,as an annoyance at best. 49 words remember? For something as important as the subject to address? 49 words.
    There needs to be a Royal Commission of Inquiry, beginning at the very deepest ends of the foundations of NZ/AO’s financial structures, systems and history.

    Citibank. A great read of an evening. A nice kind little NYC Bank. And how about this here feller for example. The Rockefeller Family? I mean, really?
    Those ol’ boys wove a terrible web and the sons of those old spiders are alive and kicking and they’re either here, or are on their way, as the world they set on fire burns to the ground.
    James Jewett Stillman was an American businessman who invested in land, banking, and railroads in New York, Texas, and Mexico. He was chairman of the board of directors of the National City Bank. He forged alliances with the Rockefeller family, Standard Oil and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. to lay a foundation that made it, arguably, “the greatest bank in the Western Hemisphere.” He engaged in an expansion policy that made National City the largest bank in the United States by 1894, the first to open foreign branches, and a leader in foreign exchange. By 1902, the bank was able to pay any sum of money to any city in the world within 24 hours. He was worth approximately $77 million at the time of his death, making him one of the wealthiest people in the country at the time.

    Is it too early for a Gin and Tonic?

    • In men’s domains it’s never to early for gin. But what’s the point of getting drunk if you’re not with the ones you love.

      There’s no doubt that party politics produces uncoordinated, incoherent policy. When the gin runs dry and polling turns, good long-term results are the result of will power.

      This goes for both the government and you as a person.

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