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The Right Talk - Bill English - 18th October

The Right Talk

From the Office of Bill English - 18th October

Bali bombings

I've never been to Bali but I know plenty of people have. After the Gold Coast it's probably the next most popular place for young New Zealanders to go.

A nightclub in Bali has no military significance. The young Aussies and Kiwis who went there could not have cared less about politics, strategy, or security. It is a holiday spot. But this event brings terrorism to the citizens of our country. We know in our minds that terrorism knows no boundaries, but now we had better believe it.

What we saw in Bali was a hatred. This is the politics of inhumanity. It is not about history or grievance. It is deeply inhuman, and it is depravity. In fact, it is a hatred so deep that we can't understand it.

Terrorists don't seem to pick between nations. We aren't a threat to them, we have run down our defence forces, and we are a long way away. But still, Kiwis have been maimed and killed by terrorists. We have to step forward, not stand back. We should be with Australia, not apart from them.

The people in the bar could have been one of our rugby teams on an end of year trip. Any Aussie killed could have been a Kiwi. The reality is the Aussies don't take us seriously on defence issues anymore. They think we are off in our own little world while they are in the real world.

This bombing means we should get real, stand alongside Australia and take the defence of our citizens seriously.

-Bill English

The Week In Politics...

*After pressure from National the Government has finally agreed to bring in binding mediation for those affected by the rotting homes crisis.

It still doesn't go far enough though - The Building Code needs to be changed and at-risk homes need to be inspected, so that we can find the full extent of the problem.

*George Hawkins has to resign as Minister of Internal Affairs after revelations this week that he knew of the rotting homes crisis for more than 12 months, despite his claim he only found out in April this year.

National MP Wayne Mapp has tabled documents in Parliament showing that Hawkins received letters in August 2001 warning him of the problem. Homes rotted while Hawkins did nothing.

*National is organising more public meetings on the rotting homes crisis, in Nelson and the North Shore. The North Shore meeting is at 7:30pm Monday 21st October, at the Baptist Church Auditorium in Dodson Ave, Milford. The Nelson meeting is this Sunday, 3pm at Nick Smith's office, 544 Waimea Road.

*Bill English is off to China today, leading a delegation of 14 people including scientists, business people and National MP Pansy Wong. The trip will focus on education and joint ventures, including the laying of the foundation stone of a joint health research technology park.

*National is pushing for a change to the anti-terrorist law passed last week by Parliament. Under the new law it is still not illegal to belong to a terrorist group like Al Queda - something that Helen Clark, unbelievably, didn't know about when it was pointed out to her in Parliament.

*It's emerged that other countries, such as Australia and the US, had intelligence warnings about possible attacks on tourist targets in Indonesia. It's disturbing that New Zealand is so out of the loop that we weren't told about these threats.

Australia received warnings because they are considered an ally of the US, not just a friend. Now is the time for New Zealand to start asking some big questions about our relationships with these countries.

*Last week's item on the endangered frogs escorted by kaumatua sparked a lot of concern from the media and public. After a phone call from Canterbury University we are happy to pass on some good news - it turns out that only three of the original 49 frogs have croaked it.


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