Have your say: Should New Zealand send lethal aid to Ukraine?

  • 08/04/2022

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister has pleaded for more lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, warning that if help isn't sent soon then "many people will die".

Dmytro Kuleba spoke to NATO at a meeting overnight, saying Ukraine needed "weapons, weapons and weapons".

"Either you help us now - and I'm speaking about days, not weeks, or your help will come too late, and many people will die, many civilians will lose their homes, many villages will be destroyed."

Following the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said member nations would continue to step up. 

"After the invasion, allies stepped up with additional military support, with more military equipment, and it was a clear message from the meeting today that allies should do more and are ready to do more to provide more equipment, and they realise and recognise the urgency," he said.

"We are closely coordinating and discussing these issues with Ukraine, so allies are providing and are willing to do more when it comes to military support."

New Zealand, which isn't a member of NATO but which was represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta at a ministerial meeting overnight with its members, is yet to send lethal aid to Ukraine. 

It emerged this week that Defence Minister Peeni Henare had taken the option of lethal support to Cabinet, but it was declined. Both National and ACT have said the Government should send lethal aid to the conflict.

Henare stressed in Parliament on Wednesday that it remained something ministers could look at in the future. 

"We have always said that we will continue to consider what more we can do and nothing is off the table given the unprecedented nature of this invasion by Russia," he said.

The Government has contributed in other areas, including humanitarian aid to support affected Ukrainians and a $5 million contribution to the NATO Trust Fund for fuel, military rations and first aid. We've also deployed nine New Zealand Defence Force members to Europe to support intelligence work.

The AM hosts spoke on Friday morning about whether New Zealand should send weapons and received a significant amount of feedback. 

One person said: "Absolutely send them. Enough of the slaughter of the people."

Another told AM: "Yes, I would support New Zealand sending weapons to Ukraine. They do not deserve what is happening to them. Diplomacy will not work with Putin as it did not work with Hitler."

But newsreader Bernadine Oliver-Kerby is "absolutely conflicted" on the issue.

"It is horrifying. Something must be done. But I don't feel great about sending weapons offshore. I feel that we would have blood on our hands. Yet I am sitting here thinking what more can we do."

Have your say: Should New Zealand send lethal aid to Ukraine?

Disclaimer: This straw poll is not scientific and closes after 24 hours.