You can view Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Facebook live before she headed in to make New Zealand's National Statement at the UNGA here.
Good morning everyone! I'm very aware we're in very, very different time zones at the moment, but I thought I would just give everyone a little bit of an insight into, I guess, the behind the scenes before national statements are given at the United Nations General Assembly.
So you might have seen that the Plenary Session, where national statements started was a couple of days ago now. It traditionally starts with Brazil giving the first statement, and then usually, immediately after, the United States. Slight departure from tradition - on this occasion, it was Brazil, States. Slight departure from tradition - on this occasion, it was Brazil, Ecuador and then the United States. And then it moves in order so that heads of state go first, and then it drops down into Prime Ministers. So, in terms of that order, I'll be giving a national statement on behalf of New Zealand probably in about half an hour’s time.
So I’m just standing now in the rooms that are adjacent to the General Assembly floor, so, look, if I come over here, I'll give you - I'll pan around and you might be able to see the space. So, you can see behind me, the General Assembly floor. Countries are sitting alphabetically, but they draw from a ballot one nation who will be the first positioned, and alphabetically, everyone sits from there, so everyone's in a slightly different order every General Assembly. This is what I'm told, anyway. So we are in a prime spot this year, New Zealand, just over to the right of the podium.
I had to finish off writing my statement. It had to be delivered this morning, because it's given to all of the translators and interpreters, of course, and so, yeah, it's fair to say I used every hour that I had, so right up until about midnight last night, I was just plugging away, just putting some final touches in. In general, the national statement is an opportunity to put New Zealand's position on global affairs, issues of international importance, and, of course, you could pick a number of issues to speak on given the current environment, but what I'm going to try and do today is speak a little bit about New Zealand's values in an international environment. You know why it is that as a small nation in the Pacific, we see the institutions like the United Nations as being so important, and successive governments - this is not really, that positioning is not party political - and why we see the rules as being so important, particularly in international trade.
So that's a little flavour of what I'm going to talk about, in there, momentarily. Just as well, it's a little bit like the debating chamber at home. The floor isn't full 100% of the time. I, for instance, have just come from co-chairing the first meeting of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, which New Zealand and the Marshall Islands are leading, with membership from the UK, Canada, Ethiopia, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, all countries who have come together around the goal of carbon neutrality. Those kinds of side meetings are happening everywhere through the course of leaders’ week so that’s why at any given time there’s often representatives sitting at the seats but not always the leaders of those individual nations.
So, anyway, everyone, that’s a little insight. I’ll be heading out there – look, I’ll see if I can go, I’ll go a little bit closer so you can get a better look. I’ll be out there in, like I say – Vietnam’s speaking now, then Jamaica, and then we’ll be up. But I’ll finish by giving a little bit of a pan, a little pan around. So, that’s a view of the General Assembly floor. All right everyone, I’d better go and get ready. See you all soon, have a great day!