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Clark must use Sept 11 to correct Govt direction

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

10 September 2003

Clark must use Sept 11 to correct Govt direction

Opposition Leader Bill English says Helen Clark should use the anniversary of September 11 to publicly correct her view that New Zealand's operating in an 'incredibly benign strategic environment'.

"The comment was reckless in April 2001 when she said it and now we know it's simply not true," says Mr English.

"Since September 11 the guide book on terrorism and international security has been completely rewritten," says Mr English.

"At home and abroad, Kiwis are thinking more and more about their own safety, the Government should be listening to their concerns.

"The Bali terror attack brought the threat of terrorism to our region prompting Australia to invest millions more in security and defence," Mr English says.

"New Zealand has not followed suit, presumably because Helen Clark and the Government are still operating under the misguided notion that we're living in 'an exceptionally benign strategic environment.'

"Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are still at large and al Qaeda is more of a threat to New Zealanders than ever, with increased activity in the Asia Pacific region.

"Two years on from September 11 the National Party is now challenging Helen Clark to publicly upgrade her Government's view on the international strategic climate.

"New Zealanders need to know the Government is taking their security concerns seriously," says Mr English.


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