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Key lobbying for NZ at UN General Assembly

Tuesday 24 Sep 2013 4:43 p.m.

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The Syrian crisis is top of the agenda for 160 world leaders gathering for the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Prime Minister John Key is about to join them to make a final push to get New Zealand on the Security Council. Mr Key wants to get New Zealand off the sidelines and into a game that nobody's playing for fun.

Manhattan is in lockdown mode. The US president has landed, his motorcade speeding from the Wall St helipad to the Waldorf Hotel.

Barack Obama's mission at the United Nations is simple – influence the world's leaders about what the world should do about the crisis in Syria.

Helen Clark calls the Syrian civil war a "complex crisis" – more than 100,000 dead and millions of refugees fleeing.

"The United States is leading a big play here to get the UN Security Council to back the plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons with a threat of force, but Russia is vetoing that," says Ms Clark.

And New Zealand is making moves too. Mr Key arrives tomorrow to lobby for votes to get one of two seats on the Security Council ahead of heavyweight rivals Turkey and Spain.

"It's David versus Goliath, and sometimes David wins," says Ms Clark.

Mr Obama will open the speeches tomorrow, and there could quickly be controversy. Brazil is next up, and it's bitterly angry about being spied on by the United States' NSA.

New Zealand's GCSB spies are of course in the American-led Five Eyes spy network. The question is, will that link make any nation think twice about giving us the nod for the Security Council?

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