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Australia-NZrelationship reaches a new low

Bill English National Member of Parliament

14 September 2001

Australia-New Zealand relationship reaches a new low

The fact an RNZAF Orion is having to fly to Australia to rescue Helen Clark shows that trans-Tasman relations have sunk to a new low, the Acting Leader of the National Party Bill English said today.

"You would expect New Zealand's Prime Minister to be treated with some respect in Australia, but that clearly wasn't the case.

"Although the Federal Government has offered some assistance, it isn't exactly bending over backwards to help Miss Clark, and I'm a bit surprised by that.

"Hopefully the experience will help Helen Clark to understand the anger being felt in Australia towards both Air New Zealand and the New Zealand Government over the failure of Ansett Australia.

"The relationship between Australia and New Zealand took a huge step backwards over Helen Clark's decision on defence. Her attempts to curry favour by giving up the welfare rights of New Zealanders in Australia, and taking refugee boat people, don't appear to have worked.

"It is going to take years for a determined National government to rebuild New Zealand's credibility in Australia," Bill English said.

Ends

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