25 Dec 2016

Trade benefits for NZ in UN resolution - expert

9:56 am on 25 December 2016

New Zealand's role in promoting a UN Security Council resolution against Israel may have some economic payoff, a foreign policy analyst says.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully chairs a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully chairs a meeting of the UN Security Council. Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

The historic resolution demanding Israel stop building settlements in Palestinian territory was co-sponsored by New Zealand and three other council members.

The resolution passed almost unanimously, with 14 of the states on the 15-member Security Council in favour.

In a reversal of the United States' usual practice, it abstained from the vote instead of exercising its right of veto.

Israel has instructed its ambassador in New Zealand to return home for consultation, but Steve Hoadley said the country need not be worried.

"New Zealand also trades with the Arab states, is about to sign a free trade agreement with the Gulf Co-operation Council.

"There's huge profits being made to export lamb and other dairy products, other food products to the Arab states.

"If there was to be a big trade payoff, the calculations would be in favour of going with the Arab and the Muslim countries."

Meanwhile, a pro-Palestine group urged New Zealand to pull out of a collaboration deal signed this year with Israel's film fund.

The Film Commission signed the agreement with its Israeli equivalent in March, encouraging collaboration in film, television, animation and digital productions.

A spokesperson for the New Zealand-based Palestine Solidarity Network, Billy Hania, said the arrangement was inappropriate.