The Prime Minister has sought an assurance today that military technology sent from New Zealand to Israel is not being used against Palestinians.
After inquiries from 1 NEWS today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it recently gave export approval for a sample of firearms suppressors to be sent to an Israeli company for “evaluation purposes”.
While it allowed the export of a “small number of firearms suppressors” to the Israeli company, at the same time the ministry said “we advised the exporter that we would not allow the export of suppressors for sale to private or government users in Israel”.
At her weekly post-Cabinet press conference, Jacinda Ardern she had sought assurances from MFAT today that the technology is not being used in the conflict.
“I can assure you that it’s not.”
Ardern said MFAT told her five firearm suppressor samples were to an Israeli company and that they made it clear to the exporter that if they wanted to seek export permits to sell them to Israeli companies or military in the future, “don’t bother”.
“With the existing export regime, they didn’t have grounds to say you can’t send the samples but they did have grounds to say you won’t be able to sell on a commercial arrangement to a private company, to the government or to the military,” Ardern said.
“It does give us the ability, another thing to add to the looking at these export orders regime because of course it would be much easier to say 'no' just from the outset.
“It seems to be a pointless exercise for the company to have engaged with in the first place, but I’m told MFAT made it very clear what the end point and end decision would be were they to apply.”