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National releases notes from US meeting

Gerry Brownlee MP

National Party Deputy Leader

03 August 2005

National releases notes from US meeting

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee said Dr Lockwood Smith had today released the notes held by him in relation to an informal meeting with US senators 18 months ago.

"The National Party has nothing to hide on this issue. At the time of the meeting we were in the middle of a thorough review of the relationship with the US. We have since settled on a firm policy.

"Let me state, once and for all, that under National there will be no change to the nuclear free legislation without a referendum and we have no plan for a referendum.

"It is important to put the notes being released today into that context. They are not a full account of what was said, and Dr Smith is of the view that there are aspects of the notes which are clearly misleading.

"But let me make it clear. National has never sought funding or assistance from the US to change the public perception of the nuclear ships ban. I regard that suggestion as malicious.

"National has today laid its cards on the table. We challenge the Government to do the same. We challenge Phil Goff to release the transcript of his conversation with the Senators, and we challenge Helen Clark to release the secret apology she gave to the US on New Zealand's behalf.

"We have taken this step because Labour is taking every possible opportunity to divert attention from the real issues in this election campaign which affect mainstream New Zealanders - tax relief, education, health, Treaty, law and order and welfare.

"Whenever Labour is in trouble, such as on tertiary funding, the fiscally irresponsible student loans, and presently the Prime Minister's speeding convoy, they raise foreign policy and ship visits in an attempt to divert attention. In fact there is practically no difference between National and Labour on foreign policy," Mr Brownlee says.

ENDS

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