Speeches, TV and Radio shows receive worldwide applause
Chris Bramwell, United Nations, New York
September 29, 2018
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered New Zealand’s national statement at the United Nations this morning (New York Time on Friday, September 28, 2018).
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivering the NZ Statement
She made her opening remarks in te reo Māori, then told world leaders that on her first visit to the UN General Assembly she was struck by the power and potential that resided there.
Ms Ardern said New Zealanders were self-deprecating people, who were not wowed by status.
“We will celebrate the local person who volunteers at their sports club as much as we will the successful entrepreneur. Our empathy and strong sense of justice is matched only by our pragmatism, we are, after all, a country made up of two main islands – one simply named North and the other, South.”
Ms Ardern said that she is a child of the ‘80s, a period when New Zealand did not just observe international events, but challenged them.
Watch Jacinda Ardern’s speech here:
Combating global issues
“Whether it was apartheid in South Africa, or nuclear testing in the Pacific, I grew up learning about my country and who we were by the way that we reacted to international events.
“Whether it was taking to the streets or changing our laws, we have seen ourselves as members of a community and one that we have a duty to use our voice within.”
As foreshadowed she spoke at length about the importance of international institutions, particularly in combating global issues, like climate change.
Jacinda Ardern addressing the 73rd UN General Assembly
(Picture by PMO)
“Any disintegration of multilateralism – any undermining of climate related targets and agreements aren’t interesting footnotes in geopolitical history – they are catastrophic.
“That is why as a global community, not since the inception of the United Nations has there been a greater example of the importance of collective action and multilateralism, than climate change.”
Amongst unprecedented global economic growth we have still seen a sense of isolation, dislocation, insecurity and the erosion of hope, she said.
“It should hardly come as a surprise that we have seen a global trend of young people showing dissatisfaction with our political systems and calling on us to do things differently.”
She spoke of the current generation as a virtually borderless one that expects the reality of world leaders to change as their reality does.
The impact of inaction regarding climate change is not an option, she said, highlighting the issues raised at the recent Pacific Island Leaders Forum.
“Of all of the challenges we debate and discuss, rising sea levels present the single biggest threat to our region,” she said.
“If my Pacific neighbours do not have the option of opting out of the affects of climate change, why should we be able to opt out of taking action to stop it.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the United Nations.
(Photo: RNZ/Chris Bramwell)
Support to the UN
Ms Ardern said that New Zealand supported the moves to reform the UN to make it more responsive and effective, including the Security Council.
“If we want the Council to fulfil its purpose of maintaining international peace and security, its practices need to be updated so it is not hamstrung by the use of the veto.”
She also promoted women’s rights in her address – saying that despite New Zealand being considered progressive, being the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote, and her being the country’s third female Prime Minister – New Zealand still had a gender pay gap, an over representation of women in low paid work, and domestic violence.
“It seems surprising that in this modern age we have to recommit ourselves to gender equality, but we do. And I for one will never celebrate the gains we have made for women domestically, while internationally other women and girls experience a lack of the most basic of opportunity and dignity.
“Me Too must become We Too.”
New Zealand is pursuing the simple concept of kindness, she said.
“In the face of isolationism, protectionism, racism, the simple concept of looking outwardly and beyond ourselves, of kindness and collectivism, might just be as good a starting point as any.”
This is an updated report by Chris Bramwell
The world applauds Jacinda Ardern
Gender inequality will always be on the agenda both domestically and internationally, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
Ms Ardern attended the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York this week.
Ms Ardern got applause and cheers during her general assembly speech when she raised the issue of gender inequality, saying Me Too must become We Too.
She said gender inequality was always part of her agenda, even if not consciously.
“It just feels like something that we need to keep putting on the agenda and the world stage.
“Even in New Zealand where we have so much to celebrate. We ourselves recognise the progress we need to make – put that up against some of our counterparts internationally and the list of things that need to be achieved even in the developed world is long.
“So yeah, I feel a sense of responsibility because I am one of a very small percentage of women who is at this forum and at this level.”
Ms Ardern also gave a number of keynote appearances on high profile television shows and met with world leaders from Spain, Ireland, Canada and Chile.
“I wanted to come over here and use the opportunity on behalf of New Zealand to deepen some trade relationships, meet a few new leaders where that was really important to us but also just to put New Zealand’s perspective on global issues on the world stage.
“And so I hope I have achieved all of that.”
She received huge media attention after being photographed with her daughter Neve in the General Assembly Hall.
Ms Ardern said that she was surprised by that as she was not the first woman in the world to have a baby, nor take her baby to work.
“I have always accepted that there obviously has not been a history of world leaders doing that and that one day this will be normalised, that’s just not right now. I did not set out with any intent. I just set out to do my job and have my family with me and some of what’s happened has just been a consequence of those simple decisions.”
Jacinda Ardern and her delegation are due back home this weekend.
Chris Bramwell of Radio New Zealand is travelling with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who is now in New York. Indian Newslink has published the above Report, Pictures and Videos under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz