PM Presser: Foreign Policy Difference's Clarified
PM's Presser: Foreign Policy Difference's
Yesterday at the post-cabinet press conference the Prime Minister disputed Gerry Brownlee's assertion last week that "there is practically no difference between National and Labour on foreign policy."
The Prime Minister considered National's Deputy leaders statement to be "quite ridiculous".
"[National] has taken a very different stance on Iraq. It is absolutely clear that a National Government would have taken New Zealand into Iraq. Should the phone go in the future [from the White House] and they were in a position to call the shots, they would be there – there is no doubt about that from the evasive answers given in the Listener," she said.
National Party leader Don Brash has stated recently that he couldn't "envisage" sending combat troops to Iraq "at present". In the current Listener Dr Brash was asked if he would "envisage" sending NZ combat troops to Iraq, should it assist a US/NZ free trade deal. Dr Brash was unable to answer this question. Later Dr Brash was asked if National's position on Iraq was the same as Labour's – namely, limited solely to a UN-issued invitation, within a UN-led context.
" I believe New Zealand alone should reserve the right to decide where troops need to be committed," was Dr Brash's reply to this question, leaving open the possibility New Zealand forces could be deployed without a United Nation's mandate under a National Government.
The Prime Minister re-iterated the Government's current position on Iraq pointing out that there was "absolutely" no chance combat troops would be sent outside a United Nations mandate.
"We have ruled out going in a combat sense," she said
In the same statement that Mr Brownlee had pointed there was "practically no difference between National and Labour on foreign policy", National's current policy on New Zealand's nuclear free legislation was also clarified.
"Let me state, once and for all, that under National there will be no change to the nuclear free legislation without a referendum and we have no plan for a referendum," explained Mr Brownlee.
In the latest Listener, Dr Brash explains that it would be necessary to consult the United States prior to any referendum on an issue such as New Zealand's nuclear free policy.
"The reality is that if you're trying to improve a relationship with the United States – as New Zealand has every incentive to do – there's no earthly point, when you're saying to the New Zealand people that you won't change an important feature of that relationship without it going to a referendum. You can't possibly put a proposition to the New Zealand people until you've discussed it with the United States. It makes no sense at all," Dr Brash told the Listener.
The Prime Minister considered Dr Brash should have learned from previous administrations that New Zealander's valued the nuclear free policy.
"There is absolutely no point in having a referendum on New Zealand's nuclear free policy unless you want to change it," she said.
Last week acclaimed documentary maker Alister Barry outlined the concept of the strategic deficit in an article on Scoop Media. According to Mr Barry the term strategic deficit refers to a political technique used by "President Ronald Reagan and his new right budget director, David Stockman to downsize the state. First, you give massive tax cuts which in succeeding years leads to huge budget deficits and borrowing."
The Prime Minister today joined Mr Barry in speculating that the concept of the strategic deficit may be behind National's promise of tax cuts.
"I think [the strategic deficit] is inherent in the National Party's secret agenda, announce big tax cuts, claim they are affordable then there is the agenda of the spending cuts that would have to follow."
This followed on from comments the Prime Minister had made regarding Roger Douglas and his tax cuts of the late 80s where it was pointed out Mr Douglas's agenda remained hidden "even to colleagues".
The phenomena of the strategic deficit was recently written about by New York Times columnist and Princeton Professor , Paul Krugman in an article entitled "The Tax Cut Con."
"During the 2000 campaign and the initial selling of the 2001 tax cut, the Bush team insisted that the federal government was running an excessive budget surplus, which should be returned to taxpayers," wrote Mr Krugman.
After three successive years of tax cuts the revenue the United States government collected fell well short of the sums it needed to pay for existing programs, according to Mr Krugman's article. In the summing up of his examination of George W Bush's tax cut agenda Mr Krugman explained that not all American politicians saw this as a bad thing.
"The coming crisis will allow conservatives to move the nation a long way back toward the kind of limited government we had before Franklin Roosevelt," he wrote.
The Prime Minister considered TV3 had made the "wrong decision" with regard to culling the leaders of the parties that provided her Government with co-alition and support agreements from this weeks TV3 leaders debate.
"Few would expect Peter Dunne not to hold his seat - just as Jim Anderton would be expected to hold his seat – so clearly they are players in the next Parliament. Current evidence would suggest that ACT will not be a player," she said.
The reason Rodney Hide squeaked in ahead of the other leaders is because of a TV3 poll taken in late July. In that poll, which had a sample size of 1000 eligible voters, 16 people suggested they may vote for ACT whilst 14 opted for United Future.
TV3 news and current affairs producer Keith Slater, assured Scoop on Friday that despite culling the parties that had supported the government from the debate, TV3 was "committed to providing the best election coverage."
Some protest action from the parties adversely affected by TV3's decision is expected. Prior to being culled from the debate Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton wrote to TV3's head of news and current affairs Mark Jennings
In the letter Mr Anderton told Mr Jennings he "believed it would represent a serious case of interference in the domestic political affairs of New Zealand's parliamentary democracy for any of the eight current parliamentary parties to not be represented in these pre-election leaders' debates."