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Government can't avoid urgent debate on Iraq

Gerry Brownlee Shadow Leader of the House

17 March 2003

Government can't avoid urgent debate on Iraq

Time is running out and the Government can no longer duck a crucial debate on Iraq in Parliament, says Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee.

"We expect Parliament to debate this issue. The Government simply can't avoid it any more.

"National has pursued every opportunity to discuss in the House Labour's posturing on Iraq. We were first to ask for a debate on the issue, and since then, we've written letters to the Speaker, sought leave and followed it through all the channels.

"We have a letter into the Speaker requesting an urgent debate tomorrow.

"While the Government hasn't moved on its position, the reality is the international situation has changed. Even Helen Clark has said it would now take a miracle to avert war in Iraq.

"New Zealand has a frigate, one Orion and one Hercules, and the military personnel required to operate them, committed to activity in the Gulf. It is clear that within the next few days, this is likely to become a war zone.

"There is no room for political games here. The Government has a duty to all New Zealanders to ensure this debate takes place so that Parliament has the opportunity to express its views on the issue.

"Without a debate, Helen Clark has no mandate to speak about the Iraqi situation on behalf of Parliament," says Mr Brownlee.


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