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Government blunders again in foreign relationships

10 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Government blunders again in foreign relationships

Just months after Minister Gerry Brownlee was forced to apologise to people in Finland for gratuitous insults about their country, John Key has done it again, this time in relation to Hungary, says Labour’s spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Phil Goff.

“John Key’s comment that Hungarians would go out at night in Budapest but not on patrol in Afghanistan has understandably been seen by them as questioning their courage and a gratuitous insult,” Phil Goff said.

“Hungary has lost seven of its soldiers in Afghanistan in the difficult Baghlan province that borders Bamyan.

“If John Key has genuine issues about how they are doing their job, he should have raised it directly with them and in confidence.

“Instead, by publically slagging them off he has simply caused anger and resentment against New Zealand and undermined the relationship between Kiwis and their allies in a neighbouring province.

“The only news about New Zealand reported in Finland’s and Hungary’s media this year will be the insults made about their countries by a New Zealand Minister and Prime Minister respectively.

“Frankly, it’s stupid. How would we as Kiwis feel if leaders in those countries had made negative and insulting remarks about our country?

“And what sort of reception will Murray McCully get from those countries when he goes to them asking for support for our bid for a place on the United Nations Security Council?” Phil Goff said.


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