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No secret agenda on ship visits - Don Brash

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

14 May 2004

No secret agenda on ship visits - Don Brash

National Party Leader Don Brash says it's simply ridiculous to suggest, as Labour has, that there is any secret agenda on US ship visits.

"How do you conduct a secret agenda in public?"

Dr Brash is referring to the selective release of MFAT notes compiled after a meeting with US senators during January.

"The National Party publicly put this issue on the table just last week with the publication of the taskforce discussion document on US/NZ relations.

"I have repeatedly stated that any change to New Zealand's anti-nuclear legislation could not be made without an explicit public mandate.

"How can that be considered a secret agenda?

"I have repeatedly signalled that this is a decision to be made by all New Zealanders.

"Phil Goff has done everything but debate the real issue which has been raised. Can we resolve our differences with Washington and Canberra with a win/win solution that allows New Zealand to remain nuclear free?

"This whole affair leaves a bad taste in my mouth - it will undoubtedly affect the way the international community deals with New Zealand politicians and officials in the future.

"It is lamentable that the Prime Minster and her Minister of Foreign Affairs have resorted, for political ends, to politicising the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"They seem not to understand that this is a department of state, not an extension of their Beehive spin machine.

"All Opposition Parties will no doubt now be reviewing where they stand in relation to our own diplomats, as will our international friends and allies.

"We simply don't know to what extent our diplomats are now expected to be political agents for Helen Clark," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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