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PM says to Australia; We don't care what you think

Hon. Max Bradford

24 February 2000

PM says to Australia; We don't care what you think

It appears from answers given by Helen Clark in Parliament today that she does not care what Australia thinks about New Zealand's defence policy, Max Bradford said today.

"The Prime Minister's answers to questions about whether she was concerned about comments from one of Australia's leading defence and security academics, Paul Dibb, that her Government has a "flat earth defence policy" was an emphatic NO.

"Professor Dibb also said that her Government did not have a "schmick of an idea about its defence responsibilities. "The Prime Minister's complete disregard for the views of our key regional strategic partners is appalling.

"Nations must work together, and the historical, long lasting ANZAC relationship between Australia and New Zealand has been a great example over the years of two close friends working together for the benefit of both countries, and the wider region.

"There is a perverse irony in Labour happily eliminating our air force cover protection for our peacekeepers, which will make us more reliant on other countries, including the Australians. Surely we need to learn the lessons of Kosovo and the Gulf War.

"How willing will they be to lend us their support in future given the Prime Minister's rude and dismissive attitude to their views?" Mr Bradford said.

Ends

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