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Clark abandons 'principled' stand

Clark abandons 'principled' stand

Within 24 hours of US criticism, Helen Clark has abandoned her 'principled' position on New Zealand's sovereignty for a clumsy fawning offer to send the SAS back to Afghanistan, says the National Party Leader Bill English.

"On Thursday New Zealand learned that Helen Clark's criticism of the US during the Iraq war had cost us a Free Trade Agreement.

"In the media on Friday she tried to explain her destructive comments by saying New Zealand's sovereignty would not be sold out to the US.

"Then today, Helen Clark appears to have reversed her position, making a peace offering to return our SAS troops to Afghanistan.

"This is foreign policy by talkback and she can't decide which callers she should pander to," says Mr English.

"It's hard to credibly offer an olive branch, when you've already chopped down the tree.

"If her series of gaffes were so principled, then she shouldn't be at all concerned about the US comments on the FTA," Mr English says.

"Instead, with this clumsy offer, she looks unprincipled as well as incompetent.

"This is the final nail in the coffin of what some have described as Ms Clark's skilful diplomacy," Bill English says.

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