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McCully needs correcting again on Hamas comments

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

06 April 2006
Media Release

McCully needs correcting again over Hamas comments

It seems that the 'worldwide headquarters of' may have had a little too much sun during his recent visit to the Pacific given the recent burbling by the so-called spokesperson on foreign affairs for the National party, says Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

"His claim that New Zealand is 'out of step with most of the civilised world' in making a contribution to the Palestinian Authority through the World Bank is either based on a very narrow world view or deliberately mischievous. The fact is that we are in the very good company of the European Commission, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and France in doing so. Is McCully claiming these countries are not part of the 'civilised' world?" Mr Peters said.

"To question the timing of the release of the $500,000 grant is a scurrilous attempt to distort the truth. The facts are straight forward and there was nothing 'strange' about the process.

"In August 2005, prior to my appointment as Foreign Minister, approval was given to $500,000 funding for the World Bank Public Finance Management Reform Trust. The funding was transferred from New Zealand in November 2005. I then authorised the World Bank to release the funds to the caretaker Palestinian Authority on 3 March this year, once the World Bank had confirmed that criteria for disbursement had been met.

"This is not a difficult sequence of events to understand, and yet Mr McCully struggles with the most rudimentary timeline.

"What makes the innuendo in Mr McCully's claims even more ridiculous is that the President of the World Bank is Paul Wolfowitz, the former Deputy Secretary of Defence for the Bush Administration, and hardly a man known for indulgence of dubious causes.

"Mr McCully should do his homework properly if he wants to be taken seriously in his shadow portfolio. Light-headedness from Pacific sojourns is really no excuse," concluded Mr Peters.


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