Statements from New Zealand government over Western Sahara trade

Shortly before the Government of New Zealand changed, the former Minister of Trade, Hon Phil Goff, wrote two letters regarding the natural resource exploitation. Read them here.
Published: 30.11 - 2008 20:02Printer version    
In one letter from Mr. Goff to Patricia Kane, 7 July 2008, the Minister states that he had discussed the benefit for the Sahrawi people of such trade, together with the Moroccan government.

"I was told by Morocco that the local community is benefiting through the provision of money, jobs, infrastructure and services. Clearly, however, such benefits are not applied to support for the excercise of the right to self-determination, including independence: Morocco continues to claim sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Morocco's approach, the responsibility is Morocco's. New Zealand companies breach no laws in importing phosphate extracted from Western Sahara, or marketing fish caught off its coast".

Read the entire letter here: page 1, page 2.  

In another letter, from Hon Phil Goff to the New Zealand Western Sahara Association, the Minister repeats the arguments that Morocco's activities in Western Sahara are Morocco's responsibilities, and not of New Zealand.

"Extraction of the phosphates by Morocco does, however, give rise to considerations of the international legal principles involved in the administration of non-self-governing territories. These are issues for Morocco to consider".

Read the entire letter from Goff to the New Zealand Western Sahara Association, 8 September 2008 here, which is a response from a letter sent by the New Zealand Western Sahara Association on 27th of January this year.

The new government in New Zealand, headed by the center-right National Party, took office end of November 2008. No statements on New Zealand's important role in the natural resource exploitation of Western Sahara have so far been issued by the new government.




Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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