Do New Zealanders no longer support Ukraine?

Of a possible 55 heads of state, only four made time to join a virtual address delivered by the African Union Assembly on June 20 by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Source: Ghana Web

So Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is to address the NZ Parliament next Wednesday. The address will be outside business hours (I will be interested to see how many MPs turn up) but it will please our Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, who has pushed hard to get this address. As she sees it:

“This address is a valuable opportunity to reiterate our support for Ukraine directly to President Zelenskyy and hear from him what the international community can do to continue to support its people, and its sovereignty.”

But the New Zealand people don’t appear to share the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for Zelensky. Just look at the negative comments this news received on the Twitter announcements of the address by the NZ Herald, News Hub Politics, and 1News NZ.

Ukrainian flags were everywhere 9 months ago. Twitter activists used them in their comments.


Gone are those Twitter activists from 9 months ago who proudly virtue-signalled their support for Ukraine and hatred for Russia. They seemed to be everywhere. Nowadays such enthusiastic supporters are few and far between. The mood is quite the opposite.

There is an occasional “Slava Ukraini!” But the vast majority of comments are hostile to this address. Comments raise issues of the corruption in Ukraine, Zelensky’s personal corruption, his attitude of entitlement and his insistent demands for money and weapons, and his support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

This surprises me as I expected that New Zealanders had blindly accepted the government’s position on Ukraine. Even accepting New Zealand’s UN vote against a resolution condemning the glorification of Nazis and racism (see Is New Zealand covertly supporting the glorification of neo-Nazism?). Western Governments and media have competed in glorifying Zelensky as a brave and charismatic leader. The Financial Times even listed him as their Person of the Year.

Has the person on the street resisted all this pressure and come to their own mind about Zelensky?

I realise that Twitter commenters can be unrepresentative because they tend to congregate according to their biases. But these comments were on news media Twitter posts, so I expect them to be more representative. Maybe Elon Musk has somehow changed the composition of Twitter commenters, but I doubt it.


Have more and more ordinary New Zealanders resisted the media and government pressures to conform over Ukraine and the war in  Ukraine? Are more and more New Zealanders now thinking for themselves.


I think the more politically conscious amongst us have learned things about Ukraine and the causes of the war that they weren’t conscious of 9 months ago. The enthusiastic, but unthinking, support from Ukraine has dissipated. We have become more aware of the real nature of Ukrainian society and its recent history. We have become conscious of the 2014 coup which overthrew a democratically elected government. We now know now about the widespread influence of ultranationalists and neo-Nazis in society and in the military national battalions (see The subtlety of neo-Nazi influence in Ukraine – ignored by our media).

Whatever the reason I welcome this trend. A society blindly led by the government and media as happened 9 months ago is dangerous.



9 responses to “Do New Zealanders no longer support Ukraine?

  1. “Even accepting New Zealand’s UN vote against a resolution condemning the glorification of Nazis and racism…”

    Ken, are you still referring to the vote concerning the wording of the draft resolution?

    Or have the UN eventually decided on the wording in order that countries can now vote on the resolution itself?


  2. Stuart, I can’t understand your point. Are you suggesting that NZ and the EU did not vote against the UNGA resolution?


  3. Ken,

    If you look at the screenshots you posted, the vote you commented on was a draft resolution, not the resolution itself.

    There’s frequently much debate in politics over the wording of resolutions, often with multiple votes on draft resolutions, before the final resolution is actually put to the vote.

    Has the final resolution been put to the vote yet?


  4. I think the final resultions are determined in December going by past history.

    But the EU and NZ statements were aimed at the draft in November. They were clearly against it. This draft is similar to previous years when NZ and the EU states abstained.

    Previous objections were based on claims the draft somehow favored the Russia Federation but I am not aware of any successful amendment to change the draft. The arguments were nebulous.

    The same arguments are used this year and I do not see any serious amendments to deal with that claim

    However this year there is an amendment to specifically attack the Russian Federation and condemn its actions in Ukraine. I don’t know how this will be handled as there is already a resolution covering that so I can not see how this clause needs to be entered into all other drafts.

    The addition is rather cynical and clearly aimed at undermining the anti-Nazi aspects as many countries will then vote against the resolution.

    Of course, underlining it all is the attempt to deny the growing neo-Nazi trends in Ukraine and other countries. Also it attempts to present Ukraine as a democracy fighting for freedom when fact it is effectively a one party state where opposition leaders are jailed and murdered and even the majority religion is now being purged by the SBU. The media has effectively been concentrated in the hands of the government.


  5. This looks like the final vote. A few extra countries supported the resolution.
    December vote


  6. Ken,

    Now all we need to know is the full wording of the resolution voted on…


  7. You are welcome to try and hunt down the final resolution. Good luck with that given the very recent discussion (15th December) and the bureaucracy of the organization. If you do find it, please let me know.

    I suspect there has been little change since the draft. The only contentious attempted amendment I saw was article 4 from the US and its allies. That was opposed by many countries (as were similar attempts on a number of human rights resolutions) because it was country specific. That is the amendment was aimed at inserting an attack on a specific country which would have violated the general nature of these sorts of “thematic” resolutions.

    Given the voting numbers, I suspect the amendment was rejected.


  8. Richard Christie

    Every NATO nation voted ‘no’ and were joined by other US appeasing sycophants.


  9. That interpretation implies that New Zealand is a “US appeasing sycophant.”

    That sounds harsh as a New Zealander. We believe that our country is largely independent. But I think this vote and the behaviour of our government over the Ukraine crisis shows that we are indeed a “US appeasing sycophant.”

    This behaviour certainly turns me off – I don’t feel I can support any of the current major parties (including Act amnf the Greens) this year.


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