Few ‘rotten apples’ shouldn’t prevent NZ aid to thousands of innocent people in Gaza, says Peters

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"Every 15 minutes a Palestinian child dies" . . . a placard from Monday's ceasefire protest at Devonport Naval Base. Image: David Robie/APR

RNZ News

New Zealand would likely continue funding the United Nations agency delivering aid in Palestine if concerns about its staff were dealt with, the Foreign Affairs Minister says.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon on Tuesday confirmed New Zealand was reviewing future payments to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

It follows accusations by Israel that 12 agency staff were involved in the Hamas’ attacks on October 7, which left about 1140 dead and about 250 taken as hostages.

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters
NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters . . . “I think the New Zealand people would want us to respond to the crisis.” Image: RNZ/Angus Dreaver

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters told RNZ Morning Report the allegations warranted a proper investigation.

But he said the critical issue was the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

According to the Palestine Health Ministry more than 26,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched a war on the besieged enclave in response to October 7.

Awaiting UN investigation
Peters said it was possible there were a few “rotten apples” within UNRWA.

“If the matter has been dealt with, and with assurances that it does not happen in the future, then the crisis is of a level, we must, I believe, and I think the New Zealand people would want us to respond to the crisis rather than to react in that way and punish a whole lot of innocent people because of the actions of a few.” he said.

Peters said it would be premature to make a decision before the UN finished its investigation.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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