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PM's Outbursts Threaten Public Service

PM's Outbursts Threaten Public Service

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today stepped up his call for Prime Minister Helen Clark to apologise for her unjustified attack on Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials.

Mr Shirley's call for an apology follows the Prime Minister's accusation that staff at the foreign affairs ministry deliberately misled then Labour Prime Minister Bill Rowling over the 1975 invasion of East Timor by Indonesian forces.

"The Prime Minister's outburst is just another example of her throwing her toys when things are not as she wants them. What the Prime Minister fails to comprehend is that these outbursts are threatening the future of a professional and independent public service.

"It seems Miss Clark must have slept through some of her political science university lectures. If she had paid attention she would know that is the role of officials to advise the government and implement its policy.

"Official documents show quite clearly that New Zealand's response to the invasion was driven from the Prime Minister's office, not by officials in a smoked filled dimly lit room in the ministry.

"The accusation that Mr Rowling was deliberately misled by his officials is not only preposterous, but is an insult to his ability and intelligence. The Third Labour Government's response was based on the geo-political realities of the day. The Government took the position it did after considering all the facts and information available. The Prime Minister must accept that it was a Labour Government that chose to deliberately ignore the plight of the East Timorese when the Indonesia army invaded. She must apologise to the civil servants she has maligned," Mr Shirley said.

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