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Govt hiding full story over apology

Govt hiding full story over apology

The offence Prime Minister Helen Clark has caused in Washington with her critical comments on the coalition war effort in Iraq was clearly more serious than the public in New Zealand had realised, National Leader Bill English says.

He was commenting after the Government today refused Official Information Act requests to release details of the Prime Minister's apology to Washington. In the process Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff cited confidential information passed on to New Zealand by another Government.

"This clearly shows that the American communication to New Zealand over this issue was much more serious than any of us realised," Mr English said.

"Otherwise there would be no harm in the Government coming clean and telling us what Washington said and what Helen Clark said in response."

Mr English said Miss Clark refused to tell Parliament what she had said to Washington. "Now Mr Goff is refusing to reveal what Washington said to Wellington.

"It is no wonder Miss Clark wants to move on. She finds it more comfortable drinking chardonnay with President Chirac in Paris than telling New Zealanders the truth," Mr English said.

Mr English said he would appeal to the Ombudsman over the withholding of the information.

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