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Stop Burning Bridges, Helen

Stop Burning Bridges, Helen

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today urged Prime Minister Helen Clark to heed the message - not attack the messenger - following Gerald Henderson's criticisms of her for not making the effort to attend the commemoration service in Bali.

"Reports show that Ms Clark's absence from the commemoration has not gone unnoticed in Australia. Our bridges with Australia are already charred - now Ms Clark looks set to burn them completely," Mr Shirley said.

"It was only through luck that New Zealand's Bali bombing death toll was low. Our traditional friend and ally, Australia, was not so lucky. If for no other reason, Ms Clark should have attended the commemoration in a show of good faith and solidarity.

"It seems the Prime Minister has a penchant for burning bridges. She has destroyed our chances of a place at the free trade table with the US and Australia. Her refusal to even consider re-examining our nuclear ban has relegated us from US ally to `friend'.

"Further, with reports yesterday that Ms Clark can only speak with US President Bush by cornering him during the morning break at the Apec summit, it seems we are on our way to isolated obscurity.

"It is time Ms Clark stepped into the real world and realised that burning bridges will do nothing but hurt our future prosperity and security," Mr Shirley said.

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