Collins: NZ should back air strikes

  • 11/09/2015
Judith Collins (Simon Wong / 3 News)
Judith Collins (Simon Wong / 3 News)

National MP Judith Collins says New Zealand should publicly back Australia's air strike campaign against Islamic State regardless of what the United Nations Security Council thinks, because New Zealand still has its "man card".

The same day it announced it would take in 12,000 Syrian refugees, Australia said it would undertake bombing runs against the jihadists, but leave dictator Bashir Al-Assad's regime alone.

Prime Minister John Key says any country is free to do what it likes to defeat Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL), since the Security Council is hamstrung thanks to Russia's veto.

Russia provides support for the Al-Assad regime, and is opposed to Western intervention in the conflict, which has set off the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

"The Security Council is very important, but it's mostly about what can't happen – not what does happen," Ms Collins said on the Paul Henry programme this morning.

"Let's be frank here: Australia's doing what Australia can do, and obviously we can't because we don't have any air strike capability, but let's support our mates."

Labour deputy leader Annette King, also appearing on Paul Henry, said it wasn't right for New Zealand to condone military action on foreign soil conducted outside of a UN mandate.

"When a country goes out and campaigns to be on the Security Council, says how important it is to be there – a little country at the bottom of the world – then we are a country that ought to stick by UN rules," she said.

"Unless this is a UN-mandated air strike by Australia, we should be with the Security Council. You can't have it both ways."

But Ms Collins says we shouldn't care what other countries on the Security Council think.

"Russia and other countries, they don't seem to have any problem having views that we might not agree with, so I think we should just do the right thing by New Zealand, the right thing by Australia and the right thing by the world."

Ms Collins says New Zealand can do what it wants even if it is a member of the Security Council, because Foreign Minister Murray McCully hasn't handed in his "man card".

Ms King suggested perhaps he should, considering his "less than successful" term.

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