When will the Palestinian and West Papuan flags fly over New Zealand’s Parliament?


Last week the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta delivered a no-holds-bared attack on Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

She described it as “a form of aggression at direct odds with the core values of New Zealanders” and expressed her “resolute support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. She spoke of the support parliament had given to Ukraine with “our unanimous motion to condemn Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified bullying”.

Ms Mahuta spoke of the actions the government has taken in response saying “we have banned all goods that could be used by the Russian military and suspended foreign ministry consultations with Russia. There are now travel bans in place on key individuals from Russia and Belarus involved in the invasion against Ukraine, and this list will be reviewed regularly.”

But it didn’t end there. She went on to say the government was “pursuing new measures to target Russian investment, including measures to target financial institutions in New Zealand, including separate, but Russian targeted, specific legislation.”

She said New Zealand, along with 30 other countries, has referred Russia to the International Criminal Court so an investigation can begin immediately into possible war crimes committed in the attack.

She talked about our government co-sponsoring a United Nations General Assembly resolution “condemning Russia’s actions and demanding its immediate withdrawal”. She said the resolution, supported by 141 votes, “shows the incredible demonstration of international solidarity in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Nanaia Mahuta ended her forthright, uncompromising defence of human rights for the people of Ukraine by saying “The #Ukraine flag continues to fly on New Zealand’s Parliament, as we the New Zealand Government, and people, stand with the people of Ukraine.”

By any measure this was an impressive response to a serious international situation by the Foreign Minister of a small country on the other side of the world. It should make us proud that we can speak out and be heard in such a fearless manner on issues of such critical importance to humanity.

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Unfortunately, we can’t celebrate this Labour government stance because we know it is so exceptional to the government’s normal approach to invasions, military occupations, attacks on democracy and abuses of human rights.

A friend of mine calls Labour’s response to Ukraine a “blue-eyed” response – meaning that if the victims have blue eyes we will shout our condemnation from the rooftops. If the victims have brown eyes Labour looks the other way.

Take the examples of Palestine and West Papua.

All historic Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, has been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967 – one of the longest military occupations in modern history. Under Israeli military rule, described as the application of “apartheid policies” against Palestinians by Amnesty International and the US-based Human Rights Watch, Palestinians face daily harassment, ritual humiliation, arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention without trial (children included) and well-documented brutality when they resist their occupiers.

Since 1967 over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed under Israel’s reign of terror. Most of them civilians. Meanwhile the Human Rights Group Defence for Children International says 2021 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children since 2014, as Israeli forces killed 76 Palestinians under 18, 15 of them in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 61 in the besieged Gaza Strip.

But instead of condemning Israel and demanding they end their occupation, the Labour government is doing the precise opposite. No condemnation, no boycotts, no bans. Rather than holding Israel to account for war crimes and flagrant breaches of international law the Labour government last month took part in an agricultural summit to “build strategic partnerships” with Israel and thereby assisted this apartheid state in the exploitation of stolen Palestinian land. The Labour government is actively complicit in Israeli war crimes.

Our Pacific neighbour West Papua has been occupied by the Indonesian military for even longer, since 1962, and a more savage, unforgiving occupier would be hard to find. But look for any Labour government statements on Indonesian war crimes or standing in solidarity with the people of West Papua and you won’t find a murmur. No tweets, no media releases, no solidarity, nothing!

Alongside eye colour, the other critical factor is that the Labour government calls out human rights abuses to a US agenda. Labour is happy to condemn Russia and China for example and pass parliamentary motions condemning their brutality but turns a blind eye when US allies such as Indonesia and Israel run occupying regimes of murder and mayhem against West Papuans and Palestinians.

The Labour government has not shown courage in dealing with Ukraine. It has been easy to join the crowd of international condemnation and proudly fly the Ukrainian flag over our parliament.

But when will Labour fly the Palestinian or West Papuan flags over parliament?


  1. New Zealand flying the Ukraine flag is just this country following the same path of antagonism towards Russia since the 1870s when we had our first “Russian scare”. How is it that we can be so far away from Russia but have had cold war relations with that country for almost all of our history? It’s because we are part of the Anglo/British alliance and where Britain and the United States go, we follow. There’s nothing principled about this stand.

    • Quite so ep.
      This so called “the whole World is against Russia” turns out to be only the blue eyed nations….. that’s only 20% of the Worlds population. The Anglo/American Empire fans. The rest of the World is watching with intense interest as to how this turns out for the USA.

    • Right on the point ep, every word. We get so emotional, when we choose, about poor little …some country… and we only have to look at Chile for an example when you go against USA foreign policy plans for your own country. They come and practice war maneouvres here, also a little in the nature of rescue to make it look good, I would think. But we are under the thumb, Keith Locke has been marked down ny our intelligence for being a stirrer since he was about 11 years of age. Australia will keep us in line. They own our banks and soon our fuel supplies and can apply pressure when they decide it’s appropriate for the English speakers.

    • So your words confirm that New Zealand as an Anglo/British alliance silently supports the brutality and mistreatment of Palestinians (and historical nations). Because the Anglo crusaders and zionist alliance share the same sickening belief: the Palestinians (and Arabs) are a ‘cursed’ people according to your romanised Bible! (While many Jews and NZ Europeans are against these claims). So these brutalities are justified because you believe that your romanised God punishes and curses people, but it was the horror and terror of the Anglo/British alliances that brought hell to other nations in the name of a faith that destroys and robs people then claim the lord saved them, cursed? So no difference than how the biggest and worst terrorist act in human history, the hiroshima-and-nagasaki-bombs that were dropped in the name of Christ, led by the Anglo forces.

  2. Thank you John .I share your scepticism and disgust.Who the hell to vote for?
    Voting for Labour and the Greens is like a vote for US foreign policy .I would have thought Mahuta who declared the rights of indigenous peoples is dear to her heart would be defending the Palestinians.
    The trouble is there is no one to vote for.Unless Chris Leitch gets his arse into gear or the Maori party gets a spine

  3. Well done John. It’s truly sickening to witness not only the hypocrisy of our politicians, but also that of our media (now subsidized by our tax dollars) which spews the propaganda and suppresses the truth, to deliberately deceive us. Having learnt nothing from history, of the lies told to justify war after war, from the Maori wars to Afghanistan, our gullible fellow citizens go along with the nonsense. More than sickening, it’s criminal, and Nanaia Mahuta, of all people, should be truly ashamed of herself

    • absolutely agree. Only the Maori Party and the Greens have anything vaguely resembling a law and human rights based foreign policy. First move should be to separate Foreign Affairs and Trade into independent ministries – at the moment, trade Trump’s all…..

  4. This is fascinating for its chilling relevance.
    Russell Brand.
    “As Facebook changes its policy to allow praise for Ukrainian neo-Nazis, is this a further example of the double standards of censorship as well as our collective short memories? ”

  5. Why would NZ recognize a terrorist entity? There is no Palestine and no Palestinian flag. It’s the Jordanian flag with the star missing.Jordan is the Palestinian state.

      • The Assyrians called the same region “Palashtu/Palastu” or “Pilistu,” beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c. 800 BC through to an Esarhaddon treaty more than a century later. Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.

        The term “Palestine” first appeared in the 5th century BC when the ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote of a “district of Syria, called Palaistinê” between Phoenicia and Egypt in The Histories. Herodotus applied the term to both the coastal and the inland regions such as the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley. Later Greek writers such as Aristotle, Polemon and Pausanias also used the word, which was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. The word is not found on any Hellenistic coin or inscription, and is first known in official use in the early second century AD.
        Around the year 390, during the Byzantine period, the imperial province of Syria Palaestina was reorganized into Palaestina Prima, Palaestina Secunda and Palaestina Salutaris. Following the Muslim conquest, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration generally continued to be used in Arabic.
        The use of the name “Palestine” became common in Early Modern English, was used in English and Arabic during the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem. The term was used widely as a self-identification by Palestinians from the end of the 19th century onwards. In the 20th century the name was used by the British to refer to “Mandatory Palestine,” a territory from the former Ottoman Empire which had been divided in the Sykes–Picot Agreement and secured by Britain via the Mandate for Palestine obtained from the League of Nations.

        • So before the 20th C, only Herodotus referred to any part of Jordan as within Palestine, and only a part of it – that of the East Bank of the Jordan River (south of Galilee to Dead Sea).

    • The star of David was founded in Prague by rabbis in the 17th century and a flag was invented based on freemasonry. David never had a star and symbolism is true Judaism is prohibited. And here you are, objecting to why Palestine does not have a flag, so that is the justified reason for a false fabricated nationality of Zionism to invade and persecute Palestinians for over 70 years? It is rather embarrassing that the Zionist state intention to colonise has gone wrong and they haven’t succeeded in the colonisation of Palestine, it’s been 74 years, such a disgrace.

    • Exhibit A when Israel is accused of being an apartheid state, the open and blatant discrimination against partners of Israelis who are Palestinian Arabs.

    • ,,,,” a captive Russian soldier is forced to shout “Glory to Ukraine!” This is the first part of the military salute widely used by Ukrainian nationalist SS units during World War II, the full version is “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”. The soldier keeps silent, threats can be heard in the background that he is about to be shot, after which the wounded man utters “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to Russia”. Frustrated shouts and insults are heard in the background.” https://southfront.org/difference-in-treatment-of-captives-and-fortitude-of-the-russian-soldiers-videos-18/

      “Glory to Ukraine!” This is the first part of the military salute widely used by Ukrainian nationalist SS units during World War II, the full version is “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”.

      I bet ‘James (black-face?) Brown’ supported the police with BLM ,,,

      Glory to the Nazis ,,, eh james white

  6. When Oh Lord? Can we give a majority percentage of agitation and anxiety 51.1% to them and the rest to angst and disgust over Russia and Ukraine. West Papua and Palestine are real places not just entities on a reality tv show or offshore from The Lost Island.

    In a recently heard discussion between a Russian and a Ukrainian, many Russians don’t regard Ukraine as a truly separate country – it is a 401. Whatever that is. Perhaps we can force Ruskaine to pull their various forces back and discuss, with heart. (If you want to know where ask and I’ll find out.)

    • ex kiwi
      You may have Ukrainian friends but when it comes to how to regard countries you have to think along lines that are adult, knowledgeable, strategic and not simplistic.

    • How would you know – Ukraine is regarded as the most corrupt state in Europe – by its ‘friends’.

      • ….. Yes,,,,,Ukraine was rated as being more corrupt than Nigeria in 2015 ,,,,, somehow in the 3 years that Hunter Biden was given his $50,000 per month ‘ghost job’ at the Ukraine energy company ,,,,, Ukraine got rated as LESS corrupt.

        I’m not sure how that works …. https://youtu.be/at_o56Kbzdk?t=43

  7. Last week the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta delivered a no-holds-bared attack on Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

    She described it as “a form of aggression at direct odds with the core values of New Zealanders” and expressed her “resolute support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. She spoke of the support parliament had given to Ukraine with “our unanimous motion to condemn Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified bullying”.

    What are our core values? The United Nations calls us out for so much? John Key seems to have set us up to be a assets parking lot under secrecy so chancy money can hide under a rock. NZs as resolute, honest capable people? Advertising our country and water as 100% okay, The water so often dirty, the ground polluted with asbestos, flame retardants, etc. Education bodged. Living in the miasma of the early 1900s with electronic bells and whistles. And treating our children badly, refusing to ensure we have strategic resources like essential housing as needed. Paying big sums to overseas people to work for us and show us the latest dodgy practices. Smarming to the wealthy from overseas and being willing to sell our various taonga and strategic businesses to them, regarding it as an advantageous deal. It’s like finding your way through an old London peasoupy fog which used to come inside and hang about he high ceilings of the old gracious houses there. You couldn’t get away from its effects; dismal look and smell.

    Those core values?

  8. This is human nature, and you will have to understand it as such. People who seem more “like us” are, naturally, more likely to get our sympathy. Educated intellectuals have a whole-humanity view, and that is admirable. But the realpolitik of the situation is, for the majority, the attractiveness of likes; hence the Ukraine response. C’est la vie.

  9. Collective security multilateralism explains the why (as to flag flying) we would – neither Palestine nor Western Papua are nation state members of the UN. Nor is Taiwan.

  10. why ban RT, THINK ABOUT IT, yes it’s pro russian propaganda of course it is but is western resolve so fragile that our own people can be shaken by rt? are our citizens really that piss weak? or maybe there might just be a grain of truth in what they say…it’s like the religious wanting to ban books that challenge ‘faith’ if your faith is so weak it can be destroyed that easily it’s not faith…same goes for the equally propagandist nonsense our media spouts..

    as an armature student of history and I having an interest in period propaganda..the same tired tropes appear generation after generation…the british pathe newsreel channel (not the compilation the raw films)on youtube are a fine lesson in how the more the medium changes the more the cliches stay the same, pick your favorite conflict 1900 to 1980 and see how it was covered AT THE TIME.

  11. Absolutely agree with you John, pretty disappointing having the perfect person to state her views on the military occupation of West Papua and Palestine say zip. These Labour clowns need to be goneburger.

    • Yea put National in, I like their internal fighting, dick pics, black ops,, swear campaigns and they’re still pushing the trickle down theory. Tax cuts that benefit their supporters and make no difference to Kiwis that need help, more of the same as the last 40 years, great move. Most of the comments here are hateful , Kiwis are not the laid back, kind people they once were, just a bunch of big mouthed ill informed, self opinionated, small minded folk with a chip on both shoulders.

  12. The world is all about not being able to take on all the evil at the same time. Witness the freeing up and democratising of Africa (to a certain extent) and Latin America after the end of the Cold War.

    It is out and out hypocrisy re Palestine and West Papua. Undermines all statements about ideals by Labour. I remember laughing myself silly one day when Jacinda expressed her commitment for poverty relief at some public event at the same time as they did nothing on another proposal. But politics always mixes urine with the milk and honey of justice — at best.

    At least we must lean our shoulders in for Falestine and West Papua. Kirk sent a destroyer into the French nuclear testing zone. It guts us out over time otherwise — though time can zag and give you 2 terms out of nowhere.

    80 to 90 years of every century is lazy, dark, self-interested politics, and the rest … the empire of idealists’ light. If FDR can co-opt that vast ( but unaware) plutocracy of America for that empire there is still a slight hope for the species. Mostly down to a strong group and a strong person. That 10 or 20 years of light is necessary to every century. And now there is nothing else. We are an old person given their death sentence by a doctor — there will not be another spring. But it is our duty to fight for the spring and the summer and then the autumn, and on.

  13. Recently the United Nations reiterated that Indonesia is engaging in “child killings, torture and the forced removal of tens of thousands of indigenous people” in West Papua.
    Yet New Zealand continues to not only trade with Indonesia but helps to train and equip its military.
    In 1963, Indonesia invaded West Papua, six years later in 1969 Kissenger installed Suharto to open the country’s forests and mineral wealth for US corporations.
    US company Freeport-McMoRan operates the Grasberg mine in Papua – the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world.
    The occupation of West Papua receives little international attention due to Indonesia’s ban on foreign journalists.
    The Indonesian government has systematically shipped millions of Indonesian migrants to West Papua to culturally and ethnically eradicate the indigenous people. Today indigenous Papuans represent just 47 per cent, down from almost 100% in the last 50 years.
    Over 500,000 civilians have been killed in the genocide and thousands more have been raped, tortured, imprisoned or ‘disappeared’ after being detained.
    Both the current and previous New Zealand governments have turned a blind eye to this genocide which is happening only about 5 and a half hours flying time from Auckland.

    • Well said!

      The Act of Free Choice was in fact The Act of No Choice!

      It was Indonesia stealing West Papua’s land and natural resources – Gold Oil Gas Silver Timber, etc resulting in the genocide of over 500 000 West Papuan Martyrs by the Indonesian military!

      Australia turns a blind eye to the ethnic cleansing of her West Papuan allies, who protected Australian soldiers during World War 2 some of whom paid the ultimate price for doing so, using the heinous Lombok Treaty to do so!

      Jokowi lied when he said he believed in human rights and appointed Wiranto, indicted by the UN for atrocities and crimes against humanity during East Timor’s bloody vote for independence, as his Security Minister!



      • Your damn right Rosemary McKay ,,, Add to that the present Ukraine war ,,, Invasion of Iraq ,,, destruction of Libya ,,,, the military Industrial complex ,,, etc etc.

        Its all about the corruption that goes with greed,,,,, and corruption should be called what it really is ,,,, Criminality and Criminal behavior.

  14. From the truth, I can’t see why not And truth comes through, though eventually. Where much pain can be endured. Palestine is easy and West Papua is both right and not too much scars economically.

  15. Simgapore just announced the opening of its embassy in Israel. The Jewish state just goes from strength to strength.

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