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The two faces of National

Hon Phil Goff
Defence Minister

4 November 2008

Media statement

Leadership you can’t believe in – the two faces of National

Bill English’s recorded comments on TV3 tonight once again reveal the true face of National, rather than the one their spin doctors have told them to show to the public, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

“Last week, the National Party’s soft policy release on foreign affairs talked of bipartisanship and New Zealand charting its own course in international affairs,” Phil,” Goff said.

“Its polling tells National that an independent voice is what New Zealanders support, but the soft words are a charade. The reality is that underneath it all, National leaders are the same unreconstructed Cold War warriors they have always been.

“John Key denies that he would have sent New Zealanders to Iraq, but at the time he declared New Zealand was “missing in action” (go to: and voted for the Prebble amendment in Parliament to send troops there.

“Unlike Rodney Hide, who last week during a debate at least had the honesty to say he had supported the war but that he was wrong and Helen Clark was right, John Key and National are not being straight with the public.

“During an unguarded moment at a National Party conference in August, Bill English said: ‘I’m a bit worried about this Obama thing … because there’s a limited effectiveness in being moralistic in international relations … there still needs to be someone to pull the trigger'.

“This statement from Bill English is further evidence that the face that National is trying to show to the public during the election campaign is false. National is not to be trusted.

“Bill English’s comment is the same gung ho stuff we heard at an earlier National Party conference from Simon Power who declared: ‘Without reservation we will support our close allies Australia, the United States and Britain when and wheresoever our commitment is called upon’.

“To cap it all off, we now regrettably have in the public arena the pejorative comments from would-be Deputy Prime Minister Bill English about Europe’s response to the war and the view of the possible next President of the United States, Barack Obama.

“His insulting comments about Mr Obama being ‘moralistic’ and ‘ineffective’ will not go down well with any Democratic Administration.

“Nor will it go down well with the New Zealand public Mr English cynically stating that the only thing wrong with the Iraq War was how President Bush spun it,” Phil Goff said.


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