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NZ taxpayer supports brutal regime

Murray McCully MP National Party Foreign Affairs Spokesman

3 February 2008

NZ taxpayer supports brutal regime

Helen Clark must explain why a taxpayer-owned company is doing contract work for the Government of Myanmar (Burma), given her position on flights to Kuwait and the sanctions imposed on Fiji says National Party Foreign Affairs spokesman Murray McCully.

"The decision appears totally inconsistent with Ministerial tantrums over Air New Zealand carrying Australian troops to Kuwait, and with the sanctions currently in place against Fiji."

Mr McCully says 100% Government-owned engineering company, Kordia (formerly BCL) has been working with a Thai firm, ALT Inter Corporation, through a joint venture called Kordia(tm) Solutions Thailand, to undertake engineering work on cell-tower installations in Myanmar.

The work has been undertaken for Myanmar Post and Telecommunications, an agency of the Myanmar government.

"Helen Clark and her colleagues must be fully aware that the military dictatorship in Burma is arguably the most brutal and repressive regime in the world. These guys make Frank Bainimarama look like a junior choir-boy.

"The Opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been under arrest for decades. Meanwhile thousands of Burmese citizens, including large numbers of Burmese monks, were targeted in last years' brutal crackdown.

"It would be hard to find a regime with a more despicable track-record."

Mr McCully says Helen Clark and her colleagues had a "collective ministerial melt-down" when they were told that 80% Government-owned Air New Zealand was carrying Australian troops to Kuwait. They have also employed firm sanctions against the regime in Fiji, stopping Fijian boy scouts and soccer players from entering this country.

"It is hard to reconcile these actions with the decision to allow a wholly taxpayer-owned company to carry out engineering work for the Butchers of Burma - especially when it is likely that the communications facilities they are constructing will be used as a tool for the continued suppression of the Burmese people.

"Fairness and consistency must be essential elements of our foreign policy if the positions adopted by our government are to enjoy support at home and respect on the international stage. Neither of these characteristics would appear to have been employed in this case and I call upon Helen Clark to provide an explanation," Mr McCully says.

See also:

Newsletter & Link outlining Kordia contract, 8 pages

ENDS

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