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Bumbling diplomacy further damages NZ interests

Bumbling diplomacy further damages NZ interests

The Labour-led Government has now abandoned any pretence of pursuing the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"After undermining our relationship with the US, Labour is now putting itself offside with another nation, by allowing Phil Goff to meet with Yasser Arafat despite Israeli concerns.

"Colin Powell has clearly got some competition for his role as peace-broker in the Middle East," says Mr English.

"Instead of repairing the damage done by Helen Clark, Labour has sent Jim Anderton to abuse the US, while Phil Goff cuddles up to Yasser Arafat.

"As far as we are aware, Arafat has very little influence on US trade policy and the focus should be on fixing the damage to NZ/US relations, not photo opportunities in Ramallah," Mr English says.

"Mr Anderton has confirmed that he waved his comments past the Prime Minister and since she did nothing to stop him, we must assume that she approved.

"Helen Clark has retired hurt because of a bit of name calling," Mr English says.

"It's a sharp contrast to the relentless pursuit of national interest I've seen from Australia's leadership.

"This is not about New Zealand's opposition to the Iraq war," Mr English says.

"This is about Helen Clark's continued criticism of the US and the White House after the war had started.

"For the sake of all New Zealanders the Labour Government must now end its anti-American campaign and look for solutions, before the relationship deteriorates even further," Mr English says.

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