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Clark Can't Handle The Truth

13 February 2002

Helen Clark's demand that Australian Cabinet Ministers 'hold their tongues on New Zealand issues' is a shameful display by a Prime Minister determined to hide the truth from New Zealanders, says National's Defence spokesperson, Max Bradford.

Mr Bradford was commenting on reports that the New Zealand Government has instructed officials to tell Australian Ministers not to talk about government decisions here which impact on Australia. The message follows statements made earlier this year by the Australian Ministers of Defence and Immigration.

"For the Prime Minister to expect, indeed demand, that another country will not comment when its vital interests are affected by the decisions of her Government is extraordinary, if not unprecedented.

"New Zealanders have a right to know when their elected representatives in Government are making decisions which may be harmful to others' and our own interests.

"If Australia's defences are compromised by New Zealand defence policies, I would expect Australians to know about it, or is Helen Clark trying to censor the bad news in Australia as well as here?

"I will certainly be saying to Robert Hill, the Australian Defence Minister, to continue saying it like it is, not as Helen Clark would have it said.

"The Prime Minister's action is reprehensible and anti-democratic, and should be rejected by all right thinking people on both sides of the ditch," says Mr Bradford.

Ends

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