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Minister guts briefing paper

Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs Spokesman

2 February 2012

Minister guts briefing paper

Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Phil Goff has described the release of the Ministerial briefing paper on Foreign Affairs as outrageous and a farce.

“Two thirds of the briefing paper to the incoming Minster has been censored. Over 16 pages of a 26 page document have been blanked out including the Ministry’s priorities, immediate issues for ministerial consideration and the Government’s programme on overseas aid,” Phil Goff said.

“This sort of comprehensive censorship is unprecedented. It’s a farce and it’s hypocritical. National talks about transparency and open government but practices the opposite. This is about as ‘open’ as you would expect from the old Soviet Union.

“New Zealanders have a right to know how their money is being spent and what the Ministry’s priorities are.

“Why is the Minister not telling New Zealanders what he is intending to do and what are the most important issues in Foreign Affairs that the Government is facing?

“Is this the sort of arrogance that we can expect from the National Government now it has been re-elected?

“You might expect minor deletions in a Foreign Affairs document on sensitive issues, but not the wholesale deletion of what the government’s priorities are in its conduct of foreign affairs, and what it intends to do with its overseas aid programme,” Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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