Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has had to correct an answer he made in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon about South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
It came just an hour after one of Luxon’s ministers, Mark Mitchell, also had to make a personal statement about an incorrect remark he made in the House on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, South Africa requested the ICJ declare Israel was breaching its obligations under the Genocide Convention through its actions towards those in Gaza.
“The court has already found… that at least some of the rights asserted by South Africa under the Genocide Convention are plausible,” said the ICJ in its ruling.
In response to questions in the House from outgoing Greens co-leader James Shaw about what New Zealand was doing in response to the ICJ ruling, which he said found a “plausible risk of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza”, Luxon said it was a “provisional finding” and “it wasn’t a plausible risk”.
Later, Luxon returned to the House to “correct an answer”.
“I said that there wasn’t a plausible risk. What I should have said is that the court was not required to determine whether Israel had actually breached its obligations under the Genocide Convention,” he said.
“Therefore, the court did not make any findings that Israel has actually engaged in genocidal conduct. However, the court found there is a plausible case that Israel’s conduct in Gaza may breach its obligations under the Genocide Convention.
That will be the subject of a full and a substantive hearing in the ICJ.”
Mitchell’s explanation was over his comment in the House on Tuesday the Government was committed to delivering 500 additional police officers over three years. The policy is to deliver it over two years.