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Brash nuke position more bizarre by the day

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

7 May 2004
Media statement

Brash position more bizarre by the day

National's position on changing New Zealand's nuclear-free legislation becomes more bizarre by the day, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

"Don Brash is now saying (TV3) that he would personally prefer that nuclear-powered ships didn't visit New Zealand. He even went as far (Linda Clark, RNZ) as noting he had been a 'peacenik and a conscientious objector'," said Mr Goff.

"None of this, however, squares with his promise to an American Congressional delegation in Auckland in January that a National Government would repeal the nuclear ban 'before lunch'.

"Dr Brash refuses to debate this issue in public with me. He won't even show up in the House when a question on the nuclear issue appears on the order paper.

"What's more, when challenged by Linda Clark to deny that he made the comment to the US delegation, he replied: 'I am not willing to say'.

"Dr Brash's credibility on this issue is nil. If he is prepared to make promises in private, totally contrary to what he assures the New Zealand electorate in public, what trust should people place in the genuineness of other pledges such as on tax and superannuation?

"As a politician, he is saying things quite contrary to his fundamentally-held beliefs on these issues over 10 years when Governor of the Reserve Bank.

"National is clearly in panic mode over Dr Brash being caught out in his comments on the nuclear-free ban. Murray McCully was even dispatched to ask officials what record had been kept of the meeting.

"It's not credible to believe Dr Brash when he says first 'what I said to them precisely, I simply do not recall. It's more than four months ago,' then 'I am not willing to discuss a private conversation I had with them', and finally, when challenged to deny he said he would remove the ban before lunch, 'I am not willing to say'.

"Dr Brash is not only offside with the large majority of New Zealanders on the nuclear and Iraq war issues, he is increasingly looking like a politician whose word simply cannot be trusted," Mr Goff said.


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