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English Apologises For Clarks Snub

Australians are our friends and allies and should be treated with respect, says National Party Leader Bill English referring to Clark's outburst over criticism she received from Australian Ministers.

"It is incredibly rude and arrogant of Clark to send a butt-out message to John Howard on the eve of her meeting with the Australian Prime Minister.

" It is not the New Zealand way to be so unpleasant to our neighbours and I want Mr Howard to know he and all Australians are most welcome at all times.

"It is also not the New Zealand way to deal with an issue by way of sending a note through officials. Australians are our mates and when you have a problem with mates you call them direct on the phone, to do otherwise is an insult.

"Clarks behaviour clearly indicates her relations with Australia is at a low point and that is of no benefit to anyone.

"There are differences between her Government and the Australian Government and for very good reason. It is clear that lately the relationship has gone off track and this latest petty action by Clark is not going to help at all.

"Clarks warning to Australian politicians is a total overreaction. Freedom of speech is one of the most important fundamental rights we have in the democratic world, last year Clark tried to curb the freedom of the press in New Zealand through electoral law reform and now she is trying to control what Australians say about her," says Mr English.

Ends

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