Does he have confidence in all the foreign policies of the Government; if so, why?
Yes, because, particularly in respect of foreign affairs, this is a hard-working and conscientious Government.
Did the Minister see the advice tendered publicly by the previous Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Goff, who appeared to be concerned by the Minister’s intention to raise the trade deficit issue with China, and cautioned him not to browbeat the Chinese Minister; and can he tell the House whether he followed his colleague’s advice?
As I said in the House last week, when the Chinese Foreign Minister raised the issue of trade Mr Peters explained that that was the responsibility of Mr Goff.
Did the Minister see the statement made by the previous Minister, Mr Goff, referring to the Minister as Cabinet’s mother-in-law; if so, what did he read into those comments about the state of their working relationship at APEC?
As I said in the House last week, I have a good relationship with my mother-in-law, and on this side of the House we regard mothers-in-law as people one should have a good relationship with. Perhaps the National Party should appoint somebody for liaison with mothers-in-law. It would, of course, have to be somebody with a mother-in-law.
I ask the House please to come to order. There is a lot of chatter when members are asking questions. Please just calm down.
Can the Minister tell the House whether he agrees with the analysis of events at APEC provided by the new President of the New Zealand First Party, Mr Dail Jones, in the New Zealand Herald that it was about “Phil Goff wanting to destabilise the situation so that he might make a run as leader of the party if Helen goes”, or can he provide the House with a more flattering account of Mr Goff’s actions?
No, I do not. My advice to anybody ever thinking about challenging the current leader of the Labour Party is that he or she would have to climb over the entire collection of rugby players in New Zealand before getting to her.
Has the Minister seen the further statement made by the President of the New Zealand First Party, Mr Jones, that “If the situation is destabilised with New Zealand First, then people like Phil Goff would be the winners”, and can he assure the House that he holds no fears for the conduct of New Zealand’s foreign policy as a consequence of the factors referred to by Mr Jones?
I hold no such fears. The only party I am aware of where there is chatter about the leadership is the National Party.
Can he explain why the Minister of Foreign Affairs refused to answer questions put to him by the Dominion Post about the matters to be discussed at his forthcoming meeting with the UK armed services Minister, Mr Ingram; and was it because he intends to establish a different foreign policy from that of the Clark Government with the United Kingdom, just as he has done with the United States, Australia, and China?