Rt Hon Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
19 December 2018 PĀNUI PĀPĀHO
Government legal advice says UN Migration Compact doesn’t compromise sovereignty
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will support the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and
Regular Migration after being satisfied fears about the document are unfounded.
“The Government would not support the UN compact if it compromised New Zealand’s sovereignty or could in any way take
precedence over ourimmigration or domestic laws. But the compact does not do that,” said Mr Peters.
“The Crown Law Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have provided legal advice which confirms this UN
cooperation framework is neither legally binding nor constraining on this country setting its own migration policies.”
Specifically the legal advice has stated that:
• The compact is non-legally binding and does not create legal obligations;
• It does not establish customary international law;
• The compact should not be taken to give the legal instruments referred to in the text as having any binding effect
that those instruments do not already have in international law;
• It reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine national immigration policy and laws and that States have the
sole authority to distinguish between regular and irregular migratory status;
• The compact does not establish any new human rights law, nor create any new categories of migrants, nor establish a
right to migrate.
• The compact in no way restricts or curtails established human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.
“The legal advice from Crown Law is not surprising but is important advice in debunking falsehoods or misguided
perceptions being spread about the implications of this framework,” said Mr Peters.
“We are aware that the statements of other countries voting in support of the compact, such as the United Kingdom, are
underpinned by legal advice supporting their positions.”
“In the end, New Zealand will be voting for a cooperation framework that was clearly set out at the start of the
compact’s negotiations process in 2016 when the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants was unanimously adopted
by all UN member states, including New Zealand under the previous government,” said Mr Peters.
“New Zealand is voting for the Compact because we support greater efforts in controlling migration issues while also
being confident our own sovereign decision making isn’t compromised,” he said.
Note – legal advice is attached