Walsh School of Foreign Service

A Small State at the Big Table; New Zealand, Multilateralism and the UN Security Council

Ambassador McClay

On Monday, April 7, 2014, the Honorable Jim McLay, CNZM, QSO, New Zealand’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations delivered the 2014 ANZAC Lecture.

Ambassador McClay used the speech to make New Zealand’s case for one of the five  non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council (UNSC).  New Zealand last served on the Council in 1993-1994. This October it will vie with Spain, which last served from 2005-2006, and Turkey, which last served from 2009-2010. He argued that as the world’s 8th oldest democracy, with a reputation for fair representation of all interests, and political and economic independence to form, sustain and act on its own judgment, New Zealand was the best candidate for this seat. “Today, New Zealand has no political alliances,” argued McClay, “we aren’t a member of the G8, G20, G77, the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), the EU or NATO; we have many friends; we are like-minded and work with others on many issues; but we are not “G-Anything”; and that leaves us free to speak up on crucial issues.”

McClay highlighted one particular issue on which New Zealand’s presence on the UNSC would have rendered different results: the genocide in Rwanda, and emphasized New Zealand’s desire to advocate for conflict prevention and address the root causes of conflict. He also mentioned the existential threat of climate change and pointed out that New Zealand’s presence on the Council would give a voice to small states that will be most affected.

Finally, McClay argued that New Zealand’s foreign policy was independent, consistent and non-partisan, with a record of working to solve problems with partners and of seeking practical, constructive results and urged people to look at New Zealand’s past actions to best predict their future performance if selected for the seat on the Council.

The Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies was proud to host this event and welcome the Ambassador and his family and staff to Georgetown.

Read full text of the talk.

About the presenterJim McLay has been New Zealand’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York since June 2009. He was a Member of Parliament from 1975 to 1987, serving as Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and received the Queens Service Order (QSO) for public services.