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Peters on Washington trip

24 July 2006

Peters on Washington trip

Foreign Minister Winston Peters today expressed his determination that the success of his trip to Washington would not be overshadowed by the New Zealand media's continuing obsession with their own involvement.

"The main objective of this trip was to open a constructive and forward-looking dialogue between New Zealand and the United States, and that was clearly achieved. Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill characterised the meeting with Condoleezza Rice as completely successful," Mr Peters said.

"Condoleezza Rice was absolutely right when she agreed it was time to put the problems of the past behind us. Chris Hill was absolutely right when he said we should stop obsessing about the nuclear issue and make our relationship more forward-looking.

"The New Zealand media were in fact the only ones who raised the nuclear issue in Washington. I never mentioned it; Senator McCain never mentioned it, and Condoleezza Rice never mentioned it.

"I went to the United States to build a bridge, not to blow it up ? unlike the New Zealand media on the trip, who have done a disservice to our country by failing to report the good news and what it means for New Zealand.

"Right from the start they have insisted on making themselves the story in this trip, rather than focus on the outcome of the meetings. Their attitude was made clear by the way they kept talking about me 'interrupting a media conference' with Senator McCain.

"I did no such thing. They know that the arrangement was for photos only, and a press conference after the meeting. But they took advantage of the Senator wanting to show his friendship towards New Zealand by turning the photo opportunity into a question session.

"My challenge to TVNZ is to show the whole tape from the moment the camera was turned on in Senator McCain's office to the moment it was turned off. Then people will know the truth, which is backed up by Senator McCain's own press release about the meeting.

"Another fact they failed to report was that the scheduled media conference went ahead after the meeting, but there was no sign of TVNZ, Newstalk ZB or the Dominion Post.

"There was one journalist there from 'Radio Tirana' and he got to talk to both of us at some length, and be photographed with the Senator," Mr Peters said.


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