McLay pushes case for NZ Security Council seat

Last updated 08:56 14/02/2013

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The head of New Zealand's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council is selling this country as an independent principled voice and a good listener.

New Zealand's UN ambassador Jim McLay said this country was still respected for its stance on the genocide in Rwanda which took place during this country's last stint on the council in the early 1990s.

''It has been written that 'the only [council members] who cared [about Rwanda] were New Zealand and the Czech Republic.

''So small states...can make a real difference.New Zealand offered an independent, principled voice and that was what the security council needed," McLay said.

New Zealand also had a good history of listening to others and speaking with an independent voice.

New Zealand is competing with Spain and Turkey for one of two seats on the council in 2015.

The council has five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members who are elected for two-year terms.

New York-based McLay gave a speech in Auckland last night.

He said despite its shortcomings the council was the only forum that could respond urgently to, and prevent, security and humanitarian crises

''We were also known as a good, informed and sympathetic listener; and we know that when electing council members, many UN states want countries that bring clear thinking... because the best contributions don't always come from speaking out publicly."

'New Zealand had a strong case for being on the council and it would benefit not only the country, but the UN, he said.

Turkey's decision to run for a seat in 2015 surprised many as it was last on in 2009-10.

In October Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticised the council for failing to come to an agreement over the conflict in Syria.

He also called for reform of the council.

Spain was last on the council in 2003/04.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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