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Samoa: Campbell Fires Back at PM's 'Schoolyard Behaviour'

Campbell Fires Back at PM's 'Schoolyard Behaviour'

APIA (Samoa Observer/Pacific Media Watch): New Zealand journalist John Campbell has fired another volley in his war of words with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi – accusing him of “schoolyard behaviour".

In the latest letter addressed to the Campbell Live show’s producer, Claudine McLean, the PM asks Campbell to come to Samoa for two weeks so he can have the time of his life.

He invited the New Zealand journalist to spend Christmas here.

But Campbell told the Samoa Observer the Prime Minister’s behaviour was laughable.

“I don’t even understand the Prime Minister’s letters now,” he said.

“I have never seen anything like them from a politician. Is he really asking me to spend two weeks in Samoa, then to interview him for a maximum of ten minutes at the end of that time, having provided written questions to him in advance that I’m not allowed to deviate from?”

He said increasingly, he believes the most likely explanation for this nonsense is that the Prime Minister is indulging in the time-honoured tactic of politicians desperate to change the subject and who do so by shooting the messenger.

“The Prime Minister is in New Zealand for some days in a fortnight’s time. Why doesn’t he talk to me then?” Campbell asked.

“Why has he still not provided a clear, itemised and audited report on where the tsunami relief money has actually gone?

“And why, in three trips, did I not meet a single person, either on the tsunami coastline or in the communities above it, happy with the Government’s post-tsunami relief efforts?

“Not one person. I didn’t put words in the mouths of the people I interviewed. They told me their stories: with honesty and with nothing to gain from doing so.

“What does the Prime Minister say to them?

“How does he respond to person after person who told me they have received little or no money themselves, and that they do not know where the money has gone?”

He said the PM could call him “stupid”, an “amateur” and a “palagi” until he’s blue in the face.

“But none of that schoolyard behaviour answers the questions I have now been asking since August,” said Campbell.

“I look forward to the Prime Minister desisting with stunts, insults and changing the subject.

“And I very much look forward to him making himself available for an interview when he is in New Zealand in fortnight’s time.”

This is the Prime Minister’s letter which Campbell is referring to:

>>> 15 November 2010

Claudine Further to my earlier email, I forgot to mention that John should also bring a pair of good walking shoes, as we need to climb up Mt Olomaga to see Lake Lanu which is now the source of piped water to Saleapaga and Lalomanu.

Since there is now wider interest also in the local media on the proposed appointment, I shall also invite all the media to be part of your Campbell Live show. They will like it, and John should be proud that he has become a kind of hero to them!

At a time of political campaigning here Campbell will become famous! I think this is the kind of limelight John is after and I am going to give it to him. John shall never never forget the experience of a lifetime. It is also near Xmas time in Samoa – his first to enjoy listening also to our Christmas Carols and New Year Festivities.

We may need 2 weeks to complete all our site visits to meet John’s high standard for the truth before we finally sit down and talk for 10 minutes only: And always remember, I had never asked for this interview. It was John’s idea and all I am doing is to accept his requests.

Warmest Regards (Tuilaepa Soli’ai Sailele Malielegaoi) Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa >>>


© Scoop Media

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