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PM Caught Telling Porkies

PM Caught Telling Porkies

Friday 14 May 2004 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

Dear Prime Minister

Official Information Request

I formally request the foreign affairs notes regarding the meeting held between the leader of the opposition, Dr Don Brash MP, and US Congressmen, during a January meeting this year.

I realise there is a convention that such notes are confidential. You have broken that convention for party political purposes to claim that Dr Brash made statements regarding New Zealand's nuclear policy under a future National government.

I see in The New Zealand Herald that a US senator has said the statements you claim were made simply did not happen.

Your credibility is now the issue.

I also note that Dr Brash has waived confidentiality.

I also note that when Prime Minister Howard broke the convention in Australia, to leak to the media the contents of a confidential intelligence briefing to the leader of the opposition, the issue turned into a question of the Australian Prime Minister's credibility. In Australia, John Howard was forced to release the total briefing.

I believe you now have no choice but to release the briefing notes.

I also believe that you should carefully consider the long-term public policy implications of your actions. Parliamentarians such as myself regularly allow members of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs to sit in and take notes of meetings that we are having with overseas MPs, ambassadors and other officials.

If the new rule is that you feel free to quote from these notes, out of context, or in this case completely make it up, opposition MPs will be forced to refuse to allow Foreign Affairs officials to attend. Either the officials are there representing New Zealand, or are they there as party political stooges for the Prime Minister? I believe it is important that you clarify that matter when you release the notes of the meeting.

Yours sincerely

Hon Richard Prebble CBE Leader, ACT New Zealand

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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