Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Bill English - Where Was NZ's CIA Bali Warning?

National Party Leader Bill English has just finished a Press Conference at Parliament at which he called on the Prime Minister to come clean on the question of whether or not warnings were received from the CIA concerning a possible attack in Bali.

The press conference followed extensive reporting in the Australian media this morning of an admission from Australian PM John Howard yesterday that, contrary to earlier statements, Australia had indeed received a warning from the CIA mentioning Bali. (See... Scoop Links: Aus. PM Admits Bali Bombing Warning). The Australian PM announced that he had initiated an intelligence agency inquiry into the matter.


This morning Bill English referred to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark’s statement in the house yesterday concerning the warning which was reported in the Washington Post.

Helen Clark said: “I give the House exactly the same advice that John Howard gave Australians yesterday, which is that Australia was given no warning of the Bali bombing, we were given no warning of the Bali bombing. The Prime Minister of Australia said that it had no warning of a specific attack, nor did we.” (See... PM Answers Questions On Intelligence Failure )

“After the statements from John Howard yesterday, Helen Clark has put herself in a position where she needs to explain this. If Australia had this warning then we should have had it too,” Mr English told the Press Gallery.

“New Zealand must have the best intelligence it can to protect our citizens. The PM gave the impression yesterday that we are still in the best intelligence club. We want to know why we weren’t told about this warning,” Mr English said.

Mr English was asked if the Prime Minister might have misled the media in her statements yesterday, given that the Australian PM too appeared to have changed his story on this issue.

“That’s a question for her to answer. It certainly doesn’t give me the reassurance that the NZ public need.”

What if the information was received, but not passed on to the Government?

“Then she [Helen Clark] ought to have a hard look at that before she comes back to Parliament today. She gave the house and the media assurances yesterday on this and we and you accepted them.”

Mr English was then asked if the price of a closer relationship with the US on such matters would be to revisit the nuclear issue, would the National Party consider doing so?

“The US is certainly sending a strong message on the nuclear issue today, and we would have to consider that. But the Government’s top priority must be to protect New Zealanders today.”

Mr English was also asked what the apparent lack of information said about the United States. “I would be critical of anyone who held back such information,” he replied.

And if Australia had the information and didn’t pass it on?

"Yesterday the PM said we had the closest possible relationship with Australia."

Scoop then asked whether the PM’s latest statements indicated she may be changing her story. This morning a spokesman told Scoop the PM said: “"I do not believe there was any specific information to warrant advising people not to visit Bali".

If the story had changed what would his reaction be? Scoop asked.

“The PM should take this seriously and give straight forward answers,” Mr English said.

Near the end of the press conference Mark Sainsbury of TVNZ asked Mr English if he was concerned about the apparent lack of intelligence given his stated intentions to travel soon.

“I am intelligent enough,” he quipped in response, smiling.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Julian Assange: A Thousand Days In Belmarsh
Julian Assange has now been in the maximum-security facilities of Belmarsh prison for over 1,000 days. On the occasion of his 1,000th day of imprisonment, campaigners, supporters and kindred spirits gathered to show their support, indignation and solidarity at this political detention most foul... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Mauling Of Novak Djokovic
Rarely can the treatment of a grand sporting figure by officialdom have caused such consternation. Novak Djokovic, the tennis World Number One, has always had a tendency to get under skin and constitution, creating a large following of admirers and detractors. But his current treatment by Australian authorities, and his subsequent detention as an unlawful arrival despite being granted a visa to participate in the Australian Open, had the hallmarks of oppression and incompetent vulgarity... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Voices Of Concern: Aussies For Assange’s Return

With Julian Assange now fighting the next stage of efforts to extradite him to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 of which are based on the brutal, archaic Espionage Act, some Australian politicians have found their voice. It might be said that a few have even found their conscience... More>>



Forbidden Parties: Boris Johnson’s Law On Illegal Covid Gatherings

It was meant to be time to reflect. The eager arms of a new pandemic were enfolding a society with asphyxiating, lethal effect. Public health authorities advocated various measures: social distancing, limited contact between family and friends, limited mobility. No grand booze-ups. No large parties. No bonking, except within dispensations of intimacy and various “bubble” arrangements. Certainly, no orgies... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Question Time Is Anything But
The focus placed on the first couple of Question Time exchanges between the new leader of the National Party and the Prime Minister will have seemed excessive to many but the most seasoned Parliamentary observers. Most people, especially those outside the Wellington beltway, imagine Question Time is exactly what it sounds... More>>



Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>