Todd McClay - Foreign Affairs and Trade
21 March 2018
Government doctors statement to protect Peters
The Government must explain why it has secretly doctored its statement condemning the nerve agent attack in the UK,
after it was publicly released and published, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Todd McClay says.
“The statement about the Salisbury attack released late on Friday afternoon is markedly different from the statement
which now sits on the Beehive website – the official version.
“On Friday it mentioned both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the first paragraph, but all quotes were clearly
attributed to the Prime Minister only. A number of media outlets rightly questioned this, given the Foreign Minister’s
public courting of Russia.
“But since then someone has snuck in and secretly doctored the statement, removing the direct attribution of those
quotes to the Prime Minister.
“Does this mean the Prime Minister is backing off her statements? Or that the Foreign Minister has changed his mind? And
given it took the Government so long to release its statement why didn’t it get it right the first time?
“Either way it’s concerning. The Government has been talking out both sides of its mouth on this matter for more than a
week now but releasing one statement then quietly changing it is either dishonest or shows Labour and NZ First still
can’t decide on New Zealand’s position.
“As the Foreign Minister is fond of saying, words matter. That’s why the Government needs to explain what changed
between Friday and the doctoring of the statement.
“It also needs to explain who directed the statement be edited and why such an important change in our country’s
official response to an attack on one of our closest partners wasn’t brought to the public’s attention by a government
proclaiming itself open and transparent.”