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Secretary-General Reacts Strongly to NZ Media

Commonwealth Secretary-General Reacts Strongly to New Zealand Media Reports

Released: 27 Nov 2005

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon issued the following statement in Malta today where the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is being held:

"I reject reports in the New Zealand media that I view democracy as anything other than the cornerstone of the Commonwealth.

"There were no 'throwaway' lines in my prepared text for the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta .

"Quite the contrary, I have always stressed that democracy and development are two sides of one coin - people cannot eat democracy, but development cannot occur without freedom.

"I have long stated publicly this point about the relationship between democracy and development - a relationship endorsed by all Commonwealth Heads of Government, incidentally.

"I am appalled at the sloppiness evident in reports I have seen and I have also raised the matter with Prime Minister Clark who was also quoted in the report.

"I have been available to media from all our Commonwealth countries in the last week but have not had a single question or request from the New Zealand media here.

"It is disappointing that those responsible for this poor journalism did not do their homework or ask the necessary questions if in doubt."

ENDS

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