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Government's Iraq Stance Will Prove Costly

Thursday 5 Sep 2002 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

The New Zealand Government's refusal to stand with the US, UK and Australia on the Iraq issue is regrettable, short sighted and will inevitably prove costly, ACT New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Defence Spokesman Ken Shirley said today.

"Our government has in recent days adopted an isolationist policy by stating that there should be no attack on Iraq, and has instead attempted to hide behind the lack of a UN mandate.

"Our country's stance is at variance with that of the UK, the US and Australia, our traditional allies, who recognise that Saddam Hussein is supporting global terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction.

"All UN attempts to redeploy weapons inspectors in Iraq have been consistently thwarted by Saddam Hussein and the point must be made that it is Saddam Hussein who is in defiance of UN resolutions, and not the defenders of the free world.

"I concur with Tony Blair that America should not have to face this problem alone and the whole of the international community has a responsibility to deal with it. The lessons of September 11th should tell us not to wait for a threat to materialise but rather to nip it in the bud.

"I accept that New Zealand has a very limited capacity to support military action in Iraq but that should not be an excuse to wash our hands of the moral commitment.

"As a nation dependent on trade we must be seen to be taking a strong stance against international terrorism that threatens democracy and freedom. How can we expect to receive favoured nation status in trade matters when we are not prepared to play our part in securing the very peace and security that underpins that trade?" Mr Shirley said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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