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Clark's credibility hits rock bottom

27 June 2005

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith National Party Foreign Affairs & Trade Spokesman

Clark's credibility hits rock bottom

National's Foreign Affairs & Trade spokesman, Lockwood Smith, says Prime Minister Helen Clark is fast getting into a position where the public will not trust her on anything.

He is commenting on the timing of her announcement of the apology by Israel to coincide with National Party leader Don Brash's address to his party's conference.

"She denies she timed the announcement to upstage Dr Brash's speech, but it is becoming very clear that that was exactly what she did. This is becoming a matter of credibility.

"She claims the announcement was synchronised with the Israeli Government to coincide with an Israeli Cabinet meeting, but Israeli diplomatic negotiator Michael Ronen says the timing had nothing to do with Israel.

"In fact, Mr Ronen says the Israeli Prime Minister approved the whole thing two months ago and that the Israelis were waiting for us to move.

"Even as recently as last Friday, Helen Clark told Auckland NewstalkZB host Leighton Smith that an announcement 'could be days, could weeks' away, and that she was 'very hopeful of an outcome'.

"She knew all the time when she was going to make the announcement. She has played petty politics with an issue that is very important to this country and it is not acceptable.

"It is a matter of credibility. The revelation by Mr Ronen that Israel did not ask for a particular day for the announcement to be made - in direct contradiction to her story - is a further huge dent to her credibility.

"First there was the smokescreen she put up around her comments to the Sunday Star-Times over the Peter Doone affair, and her attempt to manipulate their story to suit her own means.

"Then she tried to say he did not know her motorcade was travelling at vastly excessive speeds through small towns in Canterbury to get her to the rugby.

"It is clear that this country is in dire need of some honesty in its leadership because it is not getting it from this Prime Minister," Dr Smith says.

ENDS

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