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Brash should come clean on Iraq policy

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

20 July 2005
Media statement

Brash should come clean on Iraq policy

Don Brash needs to stop equivocating and evading the question, and be up front with New Zealanders about whether he would send combat troops to Iraq, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

"Don Brash is on record several times expressing his support for the invasion of Iraq.(1)

"The question he needs to answer is quite simple. 'Would he as Prime Minister commit young New Zealanders to fight in Iraq if asked?'

"The question is not, as he alleges, now just a matter of history. The conflict with Iraq is on-going and in recent months has got worse. Australia earlier this year was prevailed upon to send further troops to Iraq and did so.

"There is a real prospect that Dr Brash, having repeatedly expressed his support for the war in Iraq, would as Prime Minister be asked to turn his words into action and put New Zealand combat troops into Iraq.

"His refusal to state his position on this issue before the election when voters can take this into account suggests he is being deceptive, or he is indecisive, or both. Neither is a great credential for a man who wants to be Prime Minister.

"The fact that he has repeatedly equivocated on, and evaded answering, this question suggests that he has something to hide. The issue is not, as he alleges, a diversion. It is a serious foreign policy question on which New Zealanders are entitled to an answer.

"Last year, Dr Brash's then defence spokesman Simon Power told a National Party conference that 'without reservation we will support our close allies Australia, the United States and Britain, when and wheresoever our commitment is called upon'.

"While Mr Power was being unusually frank, and was reprimanded for his honesty, New Zealanders will continue to suspect that under National New Zealand's foreign policy will be written for it in capitals outside of Wellington," Mr Goff said.


(1) RNZ, Nine to Noon, 28 October 2003; TV One, Holmes, 23 March 2004; RNZ, Nine to Noon, 6 May 2004

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