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I thought I was seeing things last night when I saw that Defence Minister Peeni Henare wants to send anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.
This is the Government remember that gets real tough by allowing Russia’s ambassador to stay put in Wellington even though his embassy is pushing out lies and propaganda on its Facebook account. I’ve checked again today and it’s still pumping it out - banging on about fake news. It’s just unbelievable that we haven’t kicked that ambassador, isn’t it?
But this is the Government remember that, when Ukraine said “help”, sent helmets and body armour. Ooh - and don’t forget the sanctions. They’ve worked a treat so far, haven’t they?
And then, out of the blue, a member of that same Government stands up yesterday and says “I think we should send some missiles but the others don’t want to get involved’.
When I say “others”, I’m meaning the Defence Minister’s Cabinet colleagues who considered his idea and turned it down.
And so New Zealand is sticking with the helmets and body armour - and the sanctions. Don’t forget the sanctions!
Now let’s go back a couple of weeks or so to when the Government announced the helmets and the body armour and sanctions - and the National Party, at that time, supported New Zealand not getting involved in the “hot war”, as it’s called, by sending weapons and things.
Like I’ve said many times, ‘what good is a mind if you can’t change it’. And that is exactly what National’s Defence Spokesperson Gerry Brownlee has done. And he’s saying today that things have reached the point where New Zealand should be sending weapons.
And I agree with him. We have to. And, like our Defence Minister obviously thinks, if we’ve got anti-tank missiles that are going to be past their use-by date next year, then why not send them now to a place where they’re desperately needed and a place that is crying out for our help?
It beggars belief.
There’s a part of me, though, that thinks Gerry Brownlee and National might only be coming out now and saying New Zealand should be sending anti-tank missiles because the Government has considered it and decided not to.
But I’m prepared to put that suspicion aside and support National on this one. And the ACT Party too, for that matter, which has been pushing for this for a few weeks now.
How could anyone not support sending weapons after hearing the reports that have come through overnight of the atrocities happening in Ukraine?
President Zelensky has been talking to the UN Security Council via video about Russian soldiers torturing civilians and then shooting them in the back of the head, blowing them up in their apartments with grenades, and crushing them to death with tanks.
Here’s a quote from what he said overnight about the things the Russian soldiers are doing to civilians in Ukraine: “They cut off limbs, cut their throats. Women were raped and killed in front of their children. Their tongues were pulled out only because their aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them”.
And he went on to say that the atrocities happening in Ukraine right now, are the worst since World War 2. The worst since World War 2.
And what are we doing about it? We’re sending helmets and body armour. ‘We thought about sending some missiles - but yeah nah, we think you’ll be sweet with the helmets and things. Ooh - and the sanctions too. Don’t forget the sanctions.’
Which is probably fine if you’re sitting in your swivel chair in a Cabinet meeting in little old New Zealand. But tell that to someone who has just buried a family member in the backyard wrapped in a piece of carpet. Tell that to a child who has just seen their mother murdered. Tell that to the people in Ukraine living in absolute terror of what might happen next.
And tell them too, that we’ve got some anti-tank missiles sitting here that’ll be no good to us after next year because they’ll be past their use-by date - but we’re going to hold on to them, because…because…well we don’t really have a reason to hold on to them, but we’re going to.
In my mind, the only thing left for the Government to do now, is to hold its head in shame. Because the fact that it can see and hear what’s going on in Ukraine, and not have the fortitude to stand up and say ‘things have changed, we think we owe it to the international community to play a bigger role’, is absolutely shameful.