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New Zealand's Hollow Gesture

New Zealand's Hollow Gesture

While welcoming the Government's decision to provide mine-clearers for Iraq under a UN programme, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley noted that the Government continues to marginalise itself from our traditional allies abroad.

"The Government's offer will now be seen as no more than belated tokenism.

"Several weeks back, I called upon the Government to provide our naval mine clearing expertise to de-mine access to the southern Iraqi port of Um Qasr. This would have been a valuable and welcome offer, facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid to the liberated Iraqi population. Regrettably, the Govt refused.

"It is clear that we need to do much more to appease our traditional allies after the appalling blunders of Helen Clark. A minor contribution to a marginalised UN programme will be seen for the hollow gesture that it is.

"Even at this late stage, Clark should swallow her misplaced pride and offer unconditional assistance toward the post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq," Mr Shirley said.

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