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Stay At Home, Helen

Stay At Home, Helen

Tuesday 15 Apr 2003 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

ACT New Zealand Leader Richard Prebble today called on Helen Clark to cancel her trip to Europe.

"Helen Clark is going to Europe to chair the annual OECD minister's meeting in Paris. This is a meeting of Finance Ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers. It is not for Prime Ministers or heads of state.

"In the Ministerial meeting I attended, everyone was a Finance Minister - including the chair. Finance Ministers talk about financial issues, international banking issues, debt, deficits, currency and trade. Any Finance Minister will know immediately that Clark knows nothing about these issues. Dr Cullen should go and Helen Clark should stay at home.

"Helen Clark pompously says that she can help heal the rift between the US and Europe. The Finance Ministers who are battling to keep the world economy going do not want Helen Clark to introduce the politics of the UN into their professional working meeting.

"As for meeting foreign affairs ministers - surely Clark proved in the last two weeks that she knows nothing about that portfolio. In her own words, she is "a politician, not a diplomat".

"Clark would be better off not seeing President Chirac. The further New Zealand can distance itself from the Coalition of the Losers, the better.

"Now is not a good time to see Tony Blair. Helen Clark's speeches sound just like Robin Cook's - who resigned from Blair's cabinet. It's not a good time to remind Blair that New Zealand is opposed to the UK.

"Helen Clark's trip is really an indulgence. Nearly every year of her career she has gone to Europe to meet with the cocktail circuit socialists of the Socialist International. Helen loves being praised by this failing group of left-wingers. The reality is that the group is totally Euro-centric and completely indifferent to New Zealand's needs as a small agricultural exporting nation.

"Our Prime Minister's lofty claim that New Zealand is now with `like-minded" nations like Chile, Mexico, Canada and Norway just shows how irrelevant and isolated we have become. New Zealand has nothing in common with these countries other than supporting the "feel good", useless resolution calling for total nuclear disarmament. While Chile, Mexico, Canada and Norway all opposed the Iraqi war, that is not the basis for a coalition.

"This trip is a waste of Prime Ministerial time. Helen Clark has done enough damage for one year - she should stay at home," Mr Prebble said.

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