30 Aug 2013

PM says Parliament would debate any Syrian proposal

8:04 pm on 30 August 2013

Prime Minister John Key says Parliament will get to debate any military intervention in Syria.

The United States has hinted it could act alone against Syria after the British government lost a vote to endorse the principle of British involvement in a military intervention.

Mr Key says New Zealand still wants the conflict resolved through the United Nations Security Council.

Prime Minister John Key on Thursday.

Prime Minister John Key on Thursday. Photo: RNZ

But he is not ruling out New Zealand involvement in a military intervention, even if it's not under a UN mandate.

Mr Key says that would be subject to a Parliamentary debate. "To the best of my knowledge we've haven't really ever had a vote on whether we join in military action but ultimately there'll certainly be debate within Parliament - opportunity for leaders and others to express their views."

Mr Key says there has been no indication that New Zealand would be asked to physically join any action against Syria but moral support could be requested.

The Green Party agrees any decision about New Zealand's response to the Syrian crisis should go before Parliament.

Meanwhile, United Future leader Peter Dunne says the British vote could be an international game changer.

The vote effectively rules out British involvement in any American-led strikes against the Syrian government, which is accused of using chemical weapons on civilians.

Mr Dunne says Britain's stand significantly reduces any chance of gung-ho action against Syria.

He says it either forces the United States to go it alone, or forces countries back to the table with the United Nations.

Mr Dunne says the international community risks getting it wrong if it rushes in to take military action against Syria without a UN-coordinated approach.