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Peters puts domestic politicking ahead of NZ

Hon Murray McCully
National Party Foreign Affairs Spokesman

9 May 2006

Peters puts domestic politicking ahead of NZ's interests

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters might as well hand his Ministerial warrant back if he intends to damage New Zealand's international interests for perceived domestic political gain, says National Party Foreign Affairs spokesman Murray McCully.

He was responding to the release of an email and associated comments from Mr Peters today.

"It is indeed ironic that Mr Peters, who identified improving our relationship with the United States as his top priority but seems to be intent on visiting every other country except the USA, should embark on such an act of political vandalism.

"It is especially unfortunate that Mr Peters has chosen to resurrect the spectre of an untoward American influence in the National Party on the very day that Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill has made further public statements supporting an improvement in New Zealand/US relations.

"The election campaign references by Mr Mallard, which Mr Peters has resurrected today, carried a substantial cost in terms of New Zealand/US relations. Since that time, senior politicians from both National and Labour have been working in a bi-partisan way to advance the relationship, including a recent visit to the US/NZ Business Forum in Washington.

"There have been signs that such an approach is working - most recently the comments from Mr Hill today.

"If Mr Peters is prepared to put that progress at risk in order to score a cheap political point then he is unfit to serve as our Foreign Minister, even if it is only in name," says Mr McCully.


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