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Nuclear Issue Proves Clark Stumbling

17 March 2002

Nuclear Issue Proves Clark Stumbling On US-NZ Relationship

The United States move to raise the nuclear issue during Helen Clark's visit raises the question of whether she has actually made any progress on the United States-New Zealand relationship, says National Leader Bill English.

"Helen Clark has raised expectations that our contribution of SAS troops in Afghanistan would fix long-standing problems in our relationship with the United States. The Bush administration now seems keen to make sure she understands the problem isn't fixed. It appears now that there will be no progress on a free trade agreement either.

"Whatever payoff Helen Clark imagined isn't happening.

"The United States has raised the bar and conceded nothing more than a photo opportunity with President Bush. After two years of going backwards with Australia, the U.S. position raises the question of whether Labour are capable of building the relationship New Zealand needs with its friends and trading partners.

"It's crucial for our future prospects that these political relationships work well, but they aren't," says Mr English.

Ends

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