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McCully reflects on eight years of jetlag

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/04/2017

MP Murray McCully © Getty MP Murray McCully The outgoing New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says getting a seat on the UN Security Council will rank as one of his best days in the job.

Mr McCully finishes in the role after eight-and-a-half years on Monday.

On TVNZ's Q&A programme on Sunday, he said watching diplomacy in action as New Zealand won a seat on the Security Council in 2014 was "a wonderful thing".

"[Former prime minister] John Key said to me afterwards that it was like winning the World Cup in diplomacy, getting three-quarters of the countries in the world to vote for us, and I certainly put that right up there.

"It was a great privilege to have the opportunity to lead the campaign and then to serve on the council."

Conversely, receiving a call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2016 about New Zealand's co-sponsoring of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's continued settlements was not an easy moment for him.

"I was left in no doubt about the strength of the prime minister's feelings," Mr McCully said of the call, but added that New Zealand had not been pressured by the US to co-sponsor the resolution.

He said being a foreign minister was not all flash hotels and exotic locations, especially as you're from a far-flung destination to start with.

"It all looks pretty glamorous and a lot of business class travel ... [but] the fact is that you turn up jet-lagged out of your skull, just as you're starting a meeting with Hillary Clinton or John Kerry or speaking at the Security Council."

Mr McCully said Gerry Brownlee will be a very good foreign minister and he had not presumed to give him any advice.

"He's a vastly experienced politician [and] I've said I'll answer any questions you've got, but he will do things differently.

"It's good to have that sort of change in a government and in a country like this."

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