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Sweet Words Bad Signs

Sweet Words Bad Signs

Tuesday 11 Mar 2003 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today the sweet coy protestations of friendship between Helen Clark and Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, are just a sign of how deeply dysfunctional the ANZAC relationship has become.

"The idea that New Zealand and Australia do not have legitimate issues to discuss and differences of opinion on how to approach a range of issues - from instability in the Pacific to differences over business law - is simply not credible. The reality is the ANZAC relationship is now a myth. It was first based on a common defence policy that is now in tatters.

"Australia is an ally of the United States and is in a similar position to, say, Britain. New Zealand is merely a friend and its relationship with the United States is more like Singapore's.

"The great issue facing the world is Iraq and the post-Saddam Hussein new world order. The two Prime Ministers, by their own admission, spent only ten minutes on this issue.

"New Zealand has always been able to voluntarily adopt Australian business law. Successive governments have not done so for the very good reason that many New Zealand laws are better.

"Helen Clark is prepared to follow the absurd policy of adopting Australian business laws just to create an illusion of ANZAC unity where none exists.

"What the two leaders should have been discussing are the very serious issues of a post-Saddam world.

"What is the role of the United Nations if it is not prepared to enforce its own resolutions?

"Where is Australasian security when North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles to deliver them?

"Where is the security for small states when a third-rate nation like France can threaten to veto to protect a rogue state with a dictator like Saddam Hussein that President Chirac has described as a `friend'?

"What's the future of the ANZAC military arrangement when New Zealand has no effective defence force?

No doubt such a dialogue will be embarrassing to Helen Clark because it would reveal that New Zealand's policies are contradictions, lack intellectual rigour and have left this country very exposed.

"Instead the two leaders have been left cooing sweet nothings to each other," said Mr Prebble.

ENDS

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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