INDEPENDENT NEWS

Time to Drop Anderton

Published: Tue 27 May 2003 11:43 AM
Time to Drop Anderton
CT Leader Richard Prebble said Mr Anderton's foray into foreign policy demonstrates that it is time the Government dropped him from the administration.
"It's absurd and very unhelpful for the number three Cabinet Minister in the New Zealand Government to launch such a vitriolic and basically silly attack on the United States.
"Calling the United States `vindictive' and `irrational' in no way helps repair the substantial breach between New Zealand and the world's only superpower.
"Mr Anderton's case is not helped by a complete lack of facts to support his argument.
"The facts are that it was a New Zealand prime minister who chose to state, while the US was at war with Iraq, that none of this would have happened if Al Gore had won the presidency. Our Prime Minister has not apologised but has instead issued a regal statement expressing sorrow if people have taken offence.
"If this was an isolated statement then the US reaction might be said to be excessive. But as Mr Anderton knows our Prime Minister has made a number of statements criticising the United States. And New Zealand in the United Nations has also been very critical of our traditional allies.
"It's time that Mr Anderton got real. It's New Zealand not the United States that has actively sought a Free Trade Agreement. A Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand will make almost no measurable impact on that mighty economy. Whereas a US Free Trade Agreement is the measure that would make the single biggest boost to the New Zealand economy and a Free Trade Agreement with Australia excluding New Zealand will b e the biggest blow since Britain joined the EC.
"What Mr Anderton should explain is how his remarks assist in achieving a Free Trade Agreement. However Mr Anderton has done Helen Clark one favour. If the Prime Minister was to sack Mr Anderton for his latest speech, that would be a costless gesture that would indicate to the United States that New Zealand is interested in improving its relationship. Indeed, sacking Mr Anderton would benefit both countries - the US by removing an intemperate critic and New Zealand by improving the quality of the Cabinet.

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