NZ ready to step in over North Korea - Jacinda Ardern

The Prime Minister says North Korea is "absolutely a genuine and real threat" and New Zealand is ready to play a role if requested.  

Jacinda Ardern told Patrick Gower on Three's The Nation on Saturday all world leaders need to play a role in deescalating the situation. 

"We've seen significant increases in testing and the capability of those tests," Jacinda Ardern told Patrick Gower on Three's The Nation.

"Every [world leader] needs to ... put pressure on Pyongyang to make sure they are responding to the sanctions and messages coming from the international community."

All options are being explored by the New Zealand Government, Ms Ardern says, but she remains firm military intervention is a last resort, and only if it had United Nations support.

"One of the reasons we're so firm on that is we're yet to exhaust all of the channels that we have."

In the past Foreign Minister Winston Peters has been requested by the United States administration to navigate a situation with North Korea - something Ms Ardern calls "an asset".

"To date we haven't had that request, but we remain absolutely available to play whatever role that we can.

"That speaks to the level of diplomacy and level of relationship I've seen Mr Peters has with members of the international community.

"I'd never be closed off to the option."

The newly-elected leader described her first outing on the international stage as "pretty successful", including the Trade Pacific Partnership agreement - something she says is inching towards the line.

"We had a set of five goals we wanted to reach. we wanted to make sure that yes we had some decent outcomes for our exporters but we also wanted to protect farming, protect the Treaty of Waitangi, protect our right to legislate, protect our right to maintain our housing market.

"Before the trade deal was somewhat masked by all of the bits which were a little more negative.

"We haven't reached a perfect agreement but there's no denying this deal gives us access to Japan ... we did not have before."

On the Manus Island situation, Ms Ardern defended putting pressure on Australia despite their refugee quota per capita being five times our own.

"What I have undertaken to do here is certainly not to knock around Australia. I accept that they play a huge role when it comes to their contribution to refugees and taking refugees.

"What I'm trying to do is make sure New Zealand takes its share of refugees as well. We're on the back doorstep. We've made an offer, we're here to help."

Ms Ardern says our relationship with our neighbours is still "robust".

"New Zealand and Australia's relationship is much stronger than any political news story of the day.

On the subject of refugees Ms Ardern also suggested a proposal for New Zealand to take in climate change refugees could be built in to an existing system.

"We of course already have a programme within the Pacific where we have seasonal workers coming in directly to work within New Zealand from our Pacific neighbours.

"Whether or not we can build in for instance an element where we target those who might be affected by climate change and potentially be climate change refugees as part of that programme."


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