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Greens tell Howard: 'Stay home'

Greens tell Howard: 'Stay home'

The Green Party is asking the Government to withdraw the invitation for Australian Prime Minister John Howard to visit New Zealand next week.

"Our Government should be sending the strongest possible message to this warmonger," said Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today. "Howard's actions have stripped him of any right to the courtesy normally owed to a visiting dignitary.

"This so-called 'leader' has divided his own country by signing-up for Bush's War for Oil against Iraq without any public consultation or Parliamentary debate.

"This is the Prime Minister who casually dismissed the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have taken to the streets to protest against war as a 'mob' and then insulted them further by accusing them of giving 'comfort to Saddam Hussein.'"

Howard's arrogant attitude to the Iraqi situation has earned him an unprecedented no-confidence vote in the Australian Senate - the first time in the 102 years of its history that a serving PM has been so censured.

"This man has committed his country to a war that our Government - to its credit, so far - has said is unjustified," said Green Co-leader Rod Donald. "When the White House unleashes its war machine on Iraq, Australian forces - to their shame - will be active participants in the onslaught.

"It is an obscenity that Helen Clark and her senior ministers would meet with Howard just days before the 'coalition of the willing' could launch the first of its thousand missiles on Baghdad.

"The New Zealand government has consistently refused to use its vaunted 'friendship' with America to lobby Bush against this war. Now, it has the opportunity to finally make a clear statement for peace, by telling America's South Pacific proxy that he is not welcome in this country.

"We would welcome a normalisation of relations when Howard commits to a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis."

Rod Donald, who will be participating in the peace rally at the US base at Christchurch International Airport at 2pm today.

ENDS

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