Follow the podcast on
I’ve been keeping an eye on all the international news networks, just in case there’s breaking news about something.
Of course, there’s breaking news about all sorts of stuff. But not the breaking news I’ve been looking out for.
And I reckon if I flicked between the channels all day, I still wouldn’t see any coverage of little old New Zealand’s call for a “humanitarian pause” in the conflict in Gaza.
So what’s happened is New Zealand has made a formal statement to the United Nations and it’s been reiterated by caretaker Prime Minister Chris Hipkins who has said: “We call on all parties to the conflict to commit to a humanitarian pause for Israel and Egypt to use a cessation of hostilities to rapidly facilitate unimpeded humanitarian assistance to civilians living in Gaza.”
Which is diplomatic speak for 'stop the fighting you lot so we can get food, fuel and other supplies through to the people in Gaza who are getting more and more desperate by the hour'.
This humanitarian pause, by the way, isn’t a call for a ceasefire. It’s probably one or two steps down from that. I’m no expert, but that’s my take.
The interesting thing about the timing of New Zealand’s statement is that it comes after the United States blocked a UN Security Council resolution this week calling for a pause in fighting to create a humanitarian corridor.
But I see, since then, it has said that it would support a humanitarian pause - like New Zealand is calling for. The US seems to think that this would be different to the pause in fighting that it was opposed to earlier in the week. The reason being that the US seems to think that a humanitarian pause would still allow Israel to continue its military operations.
But even though we’re not going to see Chris Hipkins on CNN, Sky TV, BBC or Al Jazeera talking about New Zealand’s call for a humanitarian pause in Gaza, that’s not the point.
Because I think it’s critical that even New Zealand - a tiny little country in the South Pacific - takes a stand and we say what we think about stuff going on in the world around us.
- 'It has to stop': Biden slams 'extremist' Israeli settlers
- Devastating reason Gazan parents are writing names on children's bodies
- 'Relief she is safe': Hamas releases two hostages, US urges for more talks
Because it would be very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that no-one cares what New Zealand thinks and so we don’t bother piping up because we don’t think anyone’s interested in what we’ve got to say.
And then, one day, we look up and realise that we’ve become a nation obsessed with road cones and potholes and not much else. Completely out of touch with the rest of the world and left wondering why other countries don’t want to talk to us about things like trade agreements.
And wondering why we’ve been left high and dry by the rest of the world if we find ourselves in strife and needing help.
Because that’s what global citizenship is all about. Having a view. Taking positions. Trying to influence outcomes. Saying what we think. Even when we know that what we say isn’t going to interest the global news networks.
Because if we didn’t take a stand on global issues, we would become much more of a hermit kingdom than some people think we already are.
What’s more, we have a proud history in New Zealand of actually giving a damn when we see things we don't like.
Nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Apartheid in South Africa. Are those things happening anymore? No. Can New Zealand take credit for it? Of course not. But we were part of the global movement that brought those terrible things to an end.
Just like we were part of the global movement that took on Nazi Germany.
So even though what New Zealand is saying today isn't making headlines around the world, it's not a reason to stop saying what we think.
We might be a tiny little country at the bottom of the world. But what we think about what’s going on in the world does actually matter. And to think otherwise, would be selling ourselves short, big time.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you