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English trains sights on ANZAC defence ties

English trains sights on ANZAC defence ties

National Party leader Bill English has used a speech in Sydney to train his sights on a closer defence relationship with Australia.

“In the war on terrorism we are a single strategic entity with Australia.

“A threat to one is a threat to both. An attack on one is an attack on both,” Mr English told a Trans Tasman business circle luncheon in Sydney.

“It seems to Australians that New Zealand assumes someone else will back us up.

“Now, it is likely someone will - and it will probably be Australia.

“New Zealand needs to understand this point of view, that we might be covered by insurance, but we’re not paying the full premium.”

Mr English has used the recent Bali bombing as an example of that closeness.

“Can I extend our condolences and support to the families of victims and to victims still recovering from injury.

“Can I also thank the Australian people for picking our people out of the ashes, taking them to safety and caring for them in their time of need.”

Mr English also took the opportunity to call on the New Zealand Government to work more closely with the Australians and fix a tax problem that’s dogged business between the two countries.

“Our business communities should expect Government to have enough political will to sort this issue out in the very near future,”

“A practical way to break these deadlocks would be to hold a Prime Ministerial forum to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of CER in 2003,” Mr English says.

“It would give real momentum to push harder issues like bio security and non-trade barriers,” Mr English says.

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