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US seeks to clarify relations with NZ

Simon Power National Party MP

09 October 2003

US seeks to clarify relations with NZ

"More evidence has emerged today about the Labour Government's attempts to deceive the public over the nature of the relationship with the United States," according to Rangitikei MP Simon Power.

Mr Power was at a select committee meeting this morning where Foreign Minister Phil Goff tried to explain away the unusually tough message to the Government in an undelivered speech by US Ambassador Charles J Swindells.

"The fact that the US Ambassador felt compelled to clarify the nature of the relationship can only be read as an attempt to make the position clear, when the NZ Government has been sending mixed messages. "It has become clear as a result of select committee questioning that the Labour Government's view on the real state of the relationship is quite different to the picture being painted by Mr Swindells.

"Mr Swindells makes it clear that a Free Trade Agreement between our two countries is off the agenda - despite repeated assurances from Labour and Helen Clark that there is still hope.

"Helen Clark wouldn't even tell the public what she said in her apology to the US Government after her ill-timed attack on its foreign policy agenda.

"For the record, the National Party is conducting a comprehensive review of the relationship between New Zealand and the US - the nuclear free legislation is part of that review.

"All sides of the argument are being thoroughly canvassed because the National Party, like the rest of New Zealand, knows that the issue is far too important to rush," Mr Power says.

Ends

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