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Phil Goff Press Conf. Notes - Brash Nuke Remarks

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff
Press Conference Friday May 14


Notes By Kevin List

Re: Whether he would be releasing the full notes of the meeting.

Phil Goff: "Certainly it is not my intention today to release comments that were made by United States Senators. They have not commented publicly on the nature of the discussions. They have a desire that their comments be kept private, and I respect that. Interestingly whilst Dr Brash is so concerned that his comments should be reported, and that this is a private conversation, if you [the assembled media] look back on your records from January 12 and 13 you will find that Dr Brash was very fluent about what the Senators had reportedly said. Somewhat hypocritical I would suggest to you"

Re: The Senators saying they did not recall the lunchtime remark.

Phil Goff: "The interesting thing I guess about Senator Nicholl's comment was that personally he didn't recall - he did not say that Dr Brash did not say that. The person at the centre of this Dr Brash will not even say that he did not make these comments."

Re: Dr Brash's memory

Phil Goff: "I would suggest that Dr Brash would recall fairly clearly making a statement like that."

Re: Whether the Foreign Minister spoken recently to the American Senators in regard to this matter?

Phil Goff: "I have not spokem to the American Senators [in regard to this matter] This is a political issue between the National Party and the Labour Party in New Zealand. It pertains to the credibility of Dr Brash being recorded as saying one thing, and then saying the opposite."

Q:Why didn't Dr Brash simply say on day one - no I never made that comment?

Phil Goff: "I cannot tell you whether the notes were taped. They would generally be hand written notes.and the note taker is absolutely confident of the accuracy of his recorded comments."

Q:Is there a new rule that discussions between Opposition spokespeoplen can be made public if the Government or officials think there's some hypocrisy involved [in the discussion's}?

Phil Goff: "The consistent rule is that you shouldn't say one thing in private and the opposite in public."

Q:What would happen should an official release papers embarassing to the Minister?

Phil Goff: "If an MFAT official released something that they were not entitled to release, that would be against the internal rules and procedures. In these reports Dr Brash is not a young player, he's 63 years old. He knows there's an official recording of what he says. Maybe it was naivety on his part, but I'm afraid that when you indulge in that sort of deceit then you are likely to be caught out."

Q:Is this an example of one law for all?

Phil Goff: "If I'm caiught out in anything I say that is not consistent then I should face the consequences."

ENDS

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