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Govt continues to trade insults with our allies

Govt continues to trade insults with our allies

The National Party says the Government is still actively insulting New Zealand's key trading partners over their position on the war in Iraq.

"In answer to my questions in Parliament, Trade Minister Jim Sutton said New Zealand was taking a 'principled' stand on the war," says National Party Trade spokesman Dr Lockwood Smith.

"With that comment I believe he's inferring that Australia, which is now expected to win a free trade deal with the US, is taking an unprincipled stand.

"That's completely out of line at a time when the Prime Minister is already apologising to our close friends and when the Australians are already angry at Helen Clark's suggestion that they're trading troops for a free trade deal.

"Jim Sutton's attitude to the US has been well signposted with comments back in January where he accused America of 'arm-twisting' over the war in Iraq," says Dr Smith.

"To make matters worse, he's done it before too," Dr Smith says.

"Some may remember at the time of the controversy over US lamb tariffs Jim Sutton told then President, Bill Clinton, that he should not come to the APEC Leaders' meeting, saying he wouldn't be welcome in New Zealand.

"Mr Sutton's anti-American instincts are certainly not helping our cause as illustrated by New Zealand's absence from the long US list of likely free trade partners," Dr Smith says.

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