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Power's criticism a display of policing ignorance

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

7 June 2006

Power's criticism a display of policing ignorance

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says Simon Power's opposition to the idea of New Zealand helping train Vanuatu's police force shows his complete ignorance of policing matters.

"Contrary to Simon Power's uninformed assertions, I have said nothing about giving away extra frontline police to Vanuatu," Mr Peters said.

"The plain fact is that if we can help Vanuatu with advice and assistance to improve its policing and law and order, which we are already doing with the judiciary, then that will assist with the growth and stability of one of our Pacific partners.

"I didn't have to bother to tell Ron Mark. Ron is a smart guy – he knows and understands the critical importance and role of the police in the Pacific, unlike Simon Power, whose comments must have severely embarrassed his counterpart and foreign affairs spokesman Murray McCully.

"Simon Power clearly knows nothing about policing in New Zealand or internationally. He has put up a straw man that he is ideally suited to knock down.

"If he had bothered to think this issue through, he would have understood that it is very much in New Zealand's interests to help establish effective police forces throughout the Pacific, to not only maintain law and order, but also to stop organised crime from becoming established in the region.

"Mr Power owes his spokesman's role more thought than to describe this as 'giving away extra police'. Repeating the ignorance and mistakes he displayed time and again as defence spokesman just won't do," Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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