Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, calling on the new Foreign Affairs minister, Winston Peters, to demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
The groups Justice for Palestine and Alternative Jewish Voices have compiled a joint briefing to the minister, laying out the actions they want the government to take.
Justice for Palestine co-convenor Samira Zaiton said the briefing wanted Peters to call for an immediate and permanent ceasfire, the release of all hostages by Hamas and Israel, unimpeded humanitarian access to food, water, and fuel.
She said she was optimistic the government would start to take the right steps.
"It's never too late for them to take a stand and be on the right side of history. Unfortunately, it does seem to be, as it always has been since 1948, that the more Palestinians that die, the more the truth is unveiled," she said.
Zaiton said the briefing provided an opportunity for Peters to kōrero with Palestinians.
Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said she would deliver the briefing to Peters.
She said the demands were reasonable and baseline international law.
"It's the bare minimum we can do as a good international citizen to work for peace."
She said the language the government had been using from the start of the caretaker government under Labour, and until now, had mimicked the Biden administration's language.
"We, I think I can very confidently say, are getting our lines from diplomats and that isn't good enough. It's not good enough for New Zealanders. New Zealanders want our values reflected in foreign policy. Winston Peters has always said he's an anti-establishment guy so hopefully he can stand up to the diplomats."
In response to the group's briefing, Peters' office referred RNZ to a statement he made on Friday.
"The human cost of the conflict is horrific, and New Zealand wants to see the violence end. We call on all parties involved in the conflict, as well as countries with influence in the region, to work urgently towards a long-term ceasefire," Peters said.
He reiterated that all remaining hostages must be released, and that New Zealand continues to unequivocally condemn Hamas' terrorist attack on 7 October.
"We have consistently supported the right of Israel to defend itself against Hamas' terrorist attacks, though we repeat our call for international humanitarian law to be observed by all sides and in all circumstances," Peters said.
"Ultimately, there can be no military solution. We need to return to the Middle East Peace Process."
A large portion of the group gathered at Parliament had also attended earlier protests on Tuesday, as part of the National Māori Action Day.
Coinciding with the conclusion of the Commission Opening of Parliament, a number of Labour and Green MPs stood amongst the protesters. Labour, the Green Party, and Te Pāti Māori have all called for a ceasefire.
Labour said it was calling on the government to give visas to New Zealanders' families stuck in Gaza.
"New Zealanders with family members trapped in Gaza will be distraught that their relatives are in an active war zone. The government should help the families of Kiwis to get out, by putting their names on the list at the Rafah border crossing," said Labour's immigration spokesperson Phil Twyford in a statement.
"The government should also do what Australia is doing and provide visas so those family members, once they get out of Gaza, can come to New Zealand and shelter with family here."
On Monday, Peters said on the X platform (formerly Twitter) that five New Zealand permanent residents had escaped Gaza through the Rafah crossing overnight.
Last month, at least 11 New Zealanders and three permanent residents made it out of Gaza.