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How refreshing was Ron Mark this morning?
He’s been over in Ukraine with a Christian organisation called the Great Commission Society to see the war for himself and try to convince us back home to do more.
He thinks we’ve taken too long to start sending military help and it’s not gone down well internationally.
First of all, we only wanted to send humanitarian help like blankets.
Then we sent it to the wrong places, Ron reckons, because he didn’t see a single UN or Red Cross worker in the time he criss-crossed Ukraine.
And then, by the time we got around to sending lethal help, we were already perceived as reluctant.
Which Ron Mark reckons is part of what’s made it difficult for the PM to get some meetings in the US, because Ukraine is top of mind for them and we’re not seen to be doing enough.
I'm pleased he said this because I've been confused about why we’re still so slow in helping Ukraine.
It seems like such a no-brainer to me.
They’re a small country, like we are, being invaded by a bigger country. Surely that’s so obviously wrong that we wouldn’t hesitate to help, show support for other small countries, and come down on the right side of history.
But, instead of giving them the guns and ammo to defend themselves at the start, we only wanted to help them mop up once they’d been beaten.
Now we are finally sending the lethal gear but we keep doing it in bits and bobs instead of sending as much as we can.
We have 7 or 8 surplus LAVs. Send them.
We have javelin missiles expiring next year. Send them.
We’ve got all the excuses in the world but none of them stack up. We don’t need javelins here; Russia isn’t invading us. The Ukrainians will very shortly be able to use LAVs; Denmark just sent 25 over.
I don’t know whether this pussy footing around on helping Ukraine is because the Government wants to be seen as soft and kind and peaceful, or if it's us. Maybe polls tell them we don’t want to get involved.
I don’t know what it is.
But from where I'm sitting it’s a no brainer. Send them everything we’ve got so that in the future we can say New Zealand did the right thing.
For once we should actually listen to Ron Mark.