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Govt confusion over US response causes criticism

Leader of the Opposition Jenny Shipley

2 October 2001

Govt confusion over US response causes criticism

It's outrageous for Foreign Minister Phil Goff to create the impression that National has discredited New Zealand overseas, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"Despite what Mr Goff says it is very clear that many people are not impressed with New Zealand's response to the New York tragedy.

"Not only are they disappointed with New Zealand's response they became thoroughly confused when Matt Robson made comments which contradict the stance of his Government as he did on September 24.

"The Government belatedly offered SAS troops to assist the United States just days after Matt Robson said New Zealand will not rush to send troops to the Gulf.

"Adding further to the confusion Helen Clark tells the world that she didn't expect the US to come to our aid. Her statement that New Zealand was now like Sweden or Finland shows how little she knows about foreign affairs.

"Those countries have neighbours and allies in Northern Europe, unlike New Zealand who Clark has left isolated.

"New Zealand is conspicuously left off the long list of countries supporting the global coalition.

"Whether the Labour Government likes it or not the perception of people abroad is that New Zealand's foreign affairs position of a prompt response to support America has changed, and the Government must accept responsibility for this," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends

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