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Transtasman Political Letter – 16 June Digest

Transtasman Political Letter – 16 June Digest

Transtasman is a subscriber newsletter published weekly and read widely in New Zealand and abroad. The following is a summary of this week's edition. To subscribe and read the full newsletter see.. http://Transtasman.co.nz

Dame Silvia Will Replace Kelly In Canada

As the Graham Kelly Canadian saga gathers momentum, Trans Tasman can reveal Labour has already made plans to replace him with Dame Silvia Cartwright, who is due to finish her term at Govt House next year. The March 17 Trans-Tasman reported Govt insiders as believing she wanted a diplomatic post, but neither New York nor Washington would be available.

Meanwhile calls for the Govt to sack Kelly mounted as Opposition parties made political capital out of the "offensive" comments (first disclosed in this country by Trans Tasman last week) Kelly delivered to a Canadian Parliamentary Committee. The Govt rebuffed those calls, but says Kelly is "on notice." Criticism of Kelly's diplomatic gaffe ranged from the PM's "inappropriate" to Tariana Turia's "extremely offensive." The Greens' Metiria Turei said it was not good enough for Kelly to hide behind MFAT and the Foreign Minister, and apologise via a press release: he should come and meet ethnic communities, hold meetings on marae, and front up to Pacific Island communities to "explain himself." National's Pansy Wong believes Kelly should step down, saying he can't represent NZ if he voices racist opinions and alienates Asian NZers.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff says he got an explanation from Kelly during a visit to Ottawa this month. Rejecting demands Kelly be recalled, Goff asserted the comments had been out of character: they had been meant to be "lighthearted, but failed in that endeavour." Goff added: "If he had not been doing a good job as High Commissioner, if he had not shown the energy and enthusiasm for representing NZ, we would look at this option." This is not the first time he has had to be reminded what the role of a NZ diplomatic representative abroad entails. For the Govt, the embarrassment adds to the series of cock-ups and snafus it has experienced in recent months, calling into question its competency in political management.

Battle For Hearts And Minds On Tax Cuts

Political polls due out this weekend will be studied closely to discover whether the budget was in fact a tipping point for the electorate. Both Labour and National were wary of what the UMR-Insight poll signified on trends in the political mood. More ...

Patience Snaps With Aust On Apples

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton's patience with Aust over its intransigence on apple imports from NZ has finally snapped and he has initiated WTO action on the issue.

SAS Re-Deployed: Who Are They Targeting?

High on the agenda for talks between President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and PM Clark this week will be the war against terror, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and the struggle to restore stability, and democracy, in Afghanistan.

CAPITAL TALK

From the "let's-blow-our-own trumpet" file: Ralph Norris' move from Air NZ to head up Australia's Commonwealth Bank would have come as no surprise to readers of Trans Tasman whose website carried the story on May 2. Trans Tasman was also ahead of the field in carrying the "inappropriate" comments NZ's High Commissioner to Canada, Graham Kelly, made to a Committee of the Canadian Parliament.

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Is This The Election To Lose?

A year or so back, a lot of National supporters ­ particularly in the business sector ­ were saying very vehemently ­ but very privately ­ it would be a disaster if National won the 2005 election. The party lost so badly in 2002 a win this year would mean more than half the caucus will be greenhorns.

Transtasman is a subscriber newsletter published weekly and read widely in New Zealand and abroad. The above is a summary of this week's edition. To subscribe and read the full newsletter see.. http://Transtasman.co.nz

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