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Who is in Control?

Who is in Control?

Who is in control of Labour's foreign policy? asked ACT Leader Richard Prebble today.

"Number three Minister Jim Anderton did not get approval from the Cabinet prior to launching his vitriolic attack on the United States. Given Helen Clark's public statement that she wants to "move on" it appears that the Prime Minister was not properly briefed by Mr Anderton over the extreme nature of his remarks.

"Did Phil Goff seek Cabinet approval before deciding to meddle with the Israel/Palestinian dispute?

"It is my understanding that he did not.

"It is extremely unlikely that Trade Minister Jim Sutton would have agreed with either Jim Anderton's outburst or Phil Goff's meddling.

"It appears that the Westminster constitutional principle of collective Cabinet responsibility is being broken. While it may suit Helen Clark's internal political management to be able to say that statements like the Hon Tariana Turia's supporting Maori Treaty claims over oil and gas are reasonable, it does lead to uncertainty.

"Oil exploration companies are now uncertain as to what is government policy. The United States is unsure who is speaking for New Zealand. And Israel has clearly been left with the impression that New Zealand is interfering in the most significant peace initiative since the Camp David accord.

"Unless Helen Clark reasserts her leadership and authority, the impression of uncertainty and instability will continue.

"The constitutional principle of Cabinet collective responsibility has stood the test of time because the public is entitled to know that when a Minister speaks on a public issue he or she is representing the views of government," Mr Prebble said.

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