New Zealand Joins the UN Security Council

Yesterday, members of the United Nations chose New Zealand to join the Security Council for two years.

The Security Council has 5 permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and USA. The Council also has 10 other member countries for 2 years. New Zealand, Spain and Turkey all wanted to represent the area called ‘Western Europe and other countries’. There are two positions. NZ won 145 votes from the 192 members of the UN on the first vote. Spain won the other position on the Council on the third vote.

The Security Council is perhaps the most important UN Council. The main object is to maintain international peace and security. The Council can send peace-keeping soldiers into a country or can take other action such as stopping trade or financial aid.

New Zealand was last on the Security Council 20 years ago. Some people might be surprised that a small country like New Zealand was chosen but it was a popular choice. John Key said, “Our win proves small countries have a role to play at the UN. We believe that New Zealand can make a positive difference to world affairs.”

New Zealand hopes to make some changes to the Security Council including restricting the use of the veto by the five permanent members. New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, said that the Security Council should take action in the Eastern Europe and the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq, but too often one of the permanent members vetoes action.


• security – safety
• maintain peace – keep peace, stop war
• a role to play – can do something useful
• restrict – limit the use
• veto (n, v) – can say “No” so nothing happens; vetoed (past tense)

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