Forced Apology To Clark 'Absurd And Obscene'
National's Defence spokesman Max Bradford says it is reprehensible that Defence chiefs have been forced to apologise to the Prime Minister for telling the public the truth.
The apology follows the release of information under the Official Information Act on sightings of 15 submarines by Air Force Orion aircraft, which contradicted an earlier claim by the Prime Minister that the Orions hadn't sighted a submarine in 35 years.
"It is absurd and obscene that the Prime Minister has extracted an apology for information which was made public in response to a legitimate request under the Official Information Act. The very purpose of that Act is to allow the public to access information they are entitled to know.
"In responding to that OIA request Defence chiefs were doing what they are legally obliged to do. Helen Clark's response to being proved wrong has been anger and bitterness, culminating in her demanding this forced apology. This goes beyond petulance; these are the actions of someone with a bad bout of megalomania.
"Helen Clark is using misinformation to justify removing the submarine spotting capabilities of our Air Force. This is an ideologically driven move, and Miss Clark is furious that the facts contradict her rhetoric. Once again she is shooting the messenger.
"Helen Clark may be able to fool some people with her own created version of reality, but when it comes to the defence of our country the stakes are too high to bet our futures on a fiction created to please one person's view of the world," Max Bradford said.