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Peters Speech Extracts NZ First Taupo Electorate

Rt Hon Winston Peters - Extracts from a speech to the New Zealand First Taupo Electorate AGM, St Andrews Anglican Church Hall 2pm Sunday 8 June 2003

“There is no greater sin than ingratitude” There is a saying that tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.

The Prime Minister and her cabinet should learn this.

They would do all New Zealanders a great favour if they kept out of international affairs for the rest of the term of this government.

In fact, an overseas travel ban should be slapped on them all unless it is a one-way ticket to somewhere with no communications.

In recent months Helen Clark has ripped up the textbook on diplomacy and Phil Goff, usually a thoughtful foreign affairs minister, decided to walk in public holding hands with Yasser Arafat.

Now, we believe in a fair deal for the Palestinians – but holding hands with the PLO? It is a form of symbolism that will not escape observers.

Our foreign policy this year has taken us closer to Germany and France and further away from the United States and Britain – our traditional allies, close friends and trading partners.

This change also risks alienating Australia, historically our closest friend, trading partner and home to hundreds of thousands of our people. The number is growing all the time.

Helen Clark has been dismissive of Australia because of that country’s participation in the invasion of Iraq.

The New Zealand Government disagreed with that operation conducted outside the auspices of the United Nations as it was entitled to do so.

But after stating her position, Helen Clark should not have made derogatory statements about free trade and Australia.

New Zealanders and Australians have died together on foreign fields for nearly ninety years.

Although we compete on sporting fields, we uphold the same traditional values of democracy and freedom.

There are so many New Zealanders in Australia that we are related to each other. Call us cousins if you like.

Maori stand tall in Australia, once they move away from the shroud of the Treaty.

Away from political correctness and cargo cultism they become achievers and many reach top positions in a number of professions.

We should regard Australia with affection. That country is in some ways like a kindly uncle taking in nieces and nephews, and providing prospects that do not exist at home in New Zealand.

It therefore behoves the Prime Minister and her cabinet to treat Australia with courtesy and respect.

The bad mouthing should stop and they should stop behaving like some ungrateful relation – one who can’t look after their own young people.

As well as our historical ties of friendship and good-natured rivalry, New Zealand and Australia are strong trading partners.

Australia is New Zealand’s biggest market. We have a free trade agreement going back many years – long before these arrangements were fashionable.

So, despite the Ocker jokes we really are good mates with the Aussies and most New Zealanders, except some in the Beehive, want to keep it that way.

Our reminder to the Prime Minister is this. Australia, the United States and Britain are our friends.

Friends can disagree and remain committed to each other as long as they respect the other’s point of view.

They don’t talk behind backs and they don’t make discourteous remarks in public.

It’s time for tact and diplomacy – and hopefully that will mean silence from certain quarters for the next few months.

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