New Zealand’s ruling Labour Party plans to recognise the State of Palestine if it is re-elected on 14 October.
The Labour Party’s commitment entails extending an invitation to the head of the General Delegation of Palestine, allowing them to present their credentials as an Ambassador to New Zealand. This action would align New Zealand with the prevailing sentiment observed at the United Nations, where 139 out of 193 member states have already recognised Palestine’s sovereignty.
Advocacy organisations like Justice for Palestine and Alternative Jewish Voices have expressed their support for this commitment.
In the 2020 election, the Labour Party secured half of the total votes, resulting in a significant boost in its representation in the House of Representatives, with a total of 65 seats. This historic win marked the first time since 1996 that a single party had obtained enough seats to govern without a coalition.
Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement of her resignation in January and her successor, Chris Hipkins, assumed the role of party leader and prime minister.
Hipkins held a meeting with Izzat Salah Abdulhadi in February, who serves as the head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
While New Zealand has not officially recognised Palestine as a sovereign state, it has consistently condemned the Israeli occupation. Additionally, New Zealand has been a strong advocate for the two-state solution.
Justice for Palestine spokesperson, Neil Ballantyne, said: “It’s great to see the Labour Party joining the Green Party in making a commitment to recognize Palestine if elected. In doing so they are continuing Aotearoa New Zealand’s tradition of taking independent and principled stances on foreign policy issues from nuclear free to standing up against apartheid.”
“We have faith that just as ordinary New Zealanders were not prepared to stand by in silence while the South African government maintained an apartheid regime, we will not be silent while Palestinians suffer similar indignities and will reward those politicians who are taking this courageous stance,” he continued.