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Labour Must Remove Its Anti-US Tinted Glasses

Labour Must Remove Its Anti-US Tinted Glasses

Friday 10 Oct 2003 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today demanded to know how much evidence would make the Government realise things are not all well with New Zealand-US relations, in light of reports that US President George W Bush has left us off his travel itinerary.

"Labour believes that NZ-US relations are secure, despite mounting evidence to the contrary - such as exclusion from international military training exercises, exclusion from free trade talks, Ambassador Swindell's speech and, now, President Bush's snub," Mr Shirley said.

"In the face of such overwhelming evidence, it is plain to see that our relationship with the US is clearly not hunky-dory. In fact, the only people who can't see this are those in Government - who manage, somehow, to interpret these signs as positive.

"It is time Labour opened its eyes, stepped out into the real world, and realised that its isolationist policies will not help New Zealand. The world has moved on from the 1980s, and Prime Minister Helen Clark must realise that the time of Labour's anti-US sect is over.

"Our nuclear propulsion ban was unnecessary in 1987, and it is even more so now - the Government's own review, the Somers report, made this abundantly clear. The US has left the ball in our court, and it is up to us to join the game.

"Labour is not a team player, unfortunately, and must be coaxed to even set foot onto the playing field. I urge the Government to support my Private Members Bill to lift the ban on nuclear-propelled ship visits. This would be a first, and important, step toward re-building New Zealand's close affiliation with the US for our prosperity and security," Mr Shirley said.


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