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Sutton Confesses to Flawed Foreign Policy

Sutton Confesses to Flawed Foreign Policy

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today the Minister of Trade's statement to his local newspaper that it's time for New Zealand to review its nuclear policy is very significant.

"What Minister Sutton was prepared to tell his local constituents but is not prepared to tell Parliament and the country is that New Zealand's continuing ban on nuclear propulsion is a cold war relic and is now damaging the New Zealand economy.

"While I applaud Minister Sutton's willingness to be upfront with his constituents he is mistaken in believing that as a Minister of the Crown he can have one policy in Timaru and another in Wellington. "He has a duty to put this issue to the Cabinet and if the Clark Government will not support his call for a review then his duty is clear. Under the Westminster Principle of collective cabinet responsibility he should resign and make a statement to Parliament saying why it is in the national interest to review our nuclear policy.

"It is obvious that New Zealand `s present foreign policy, including our ban on nuclear propulsion, is making Minister Sutton's trade negotiations impossible. Years of work by successive governments to achieve free trade access to the world's biggest economy, the United States has been destroyed by the reckless talk of the Prime Minister. "If it was just a few words the position would be recoverable. What Minister Sutton is confessing to Timaru is that Labour `s foreign policy is fundamentally flawed.

"The proposition that Helen Clark and Phil Goff have advanced that New Zealand can spilt trade from foreign policy and defence has been shown to be false. What Trade Minister Sutton is saying to the country is we need to debate our priorities. Is Helen Clark's support for the anti-rhetoric of UN resolutions worth more to New Zealand than the positive benefits of increasing trade, having secure defence arrangements, and being a reliable member of the Western alliance? It is clear we cannot do both, and for admitting that Minister Sutton has done the country a favour," Mr Prebble said.

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