Prime Minister John Key has publicly condemned African terrorist organisation Boko Haram.
The fundamentalist Islamist group made headlines around the world after it kidnapped 276 teenage girls from a school in Nigeria.
Mr Key used his weekly post-Cabinet news conference to formally condemn the group.
"All New Zealanders will join me in deploring and condemning the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram," he said.
"Aside from causing immense and needless trauma and suffering, acts like this have the longer term purpose of discouraging families from allowing their daughters an education."
Mr Key also revealed the Government made the addition of Boko Haram as a terrorist group under the Terrorism Suppression Act around six weeks ago. It follows criticism by the Labour Party and Amnesty International, who perceived the Government as being silent on the issue.
"Whatever we are able to provide, we should not let our size and our distance from Nigeria prevent us from offering," Labour's foreign affairs associate spokesperson Maryan Street told Firstline this morning.
Mr Key said other countries are "better placed" to help in efforts to rescue the girls.
"The safety of Nigerian citizens is primarily the responsibility of the Nigerian government, though we are pleased to see international community offering assistance in this case," he said.
"However, we can add our voice to those of governments and citizens around the world calling for the girls' safe return to their desperate families."
Mr Key says New Zealand has not been asked to provide assistance, but the situation in Nigeria will be monitored by his Government.
source: newshub archive