Time to Drop Anderton
Time to Drop Anderton
CT Leader Richard Prebble said Mr Anderton's foray into foreign policy demonstrates that it is time the Government dropped him from the administration.
"It's absurd and very unhelpful for the number three Cabinet Minister in the New Zealand Government to launch such a vitriolic and basically silly attack on the United States.
"Calling the United States `vindictive' and `irrational' in no way helps repair the substantial breach between New Zealand and the world's only superpower.
"Mr Anderton's case is not helped by a complete lack of facts to support his argument.
"The facts are that it was a New Zealand prime minister who chose to state, while the US was at war with Iraq, that none of this would have happened if Al Gore had won the presidency. Our Prime Minister has not apologised but has instead issued a regal statement expressing sorrow if people have taken offence.
"If this was an isolated statement then the US reaction might be said to be excessive. But as Mr Anderton knows our Prime Minister has made a number of statements criticising the United States. And New Zealand in the United Nations has also been very critical of our traditional allies.
"It's time that Mr Anderton got real. It's New Zealand not the United States that has actively sought a Free Trade Agreement. A Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand will make almost no measurable impact on that mighty economy. Whereas a US Free Trade Agreement is the measure that would make the single biggest boost to the New Zealand economy and a Free Trade Agreement with Australia excluding New Zealand will b e the biggest blow since Britain joined the EC.
"What Mr Anderton should explain
is how his remarks assist in achieving a Free Trade
Agreement. However Mr Anderton has done Helen Clark one
favour. If the Prime Minister was to sack Mr Anderton for
his latest speech, that would be a costless gesture that
would indicate to the United States that New Zealand is
interested in improving its relationship. Indeed, sacking
Mr Anderton would benefit both countries - the US by
removing an intemperate critic and New Zealand by
improving the quality of the Cabinet.