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Foreign Affairs, Minister—Confidence

Tuesday 22 November 2005 Hansard source (external site)

BRASH1. Dr DON BRASH (Leader of the Opposition) Link to this
to the Prime Minister

Does she have confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs; if so, why?

ClarkRt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister) Link to this

Yes; because he is a hard-working and conscientious Minister.

BRASHDr Don Brash Link to this

Does she agree with the decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to announce that he would raise our $2 billion trade deficit with China with the Chinese Foreign Minister, or does she agree with the Minister of Trade’s criticism of Mr Peters that “You don’t actually even up the surplus or deficit by browbeating the partner.”?

ClarkRt Hon HELEN CLARK Link to this

I think the way we would like to tackle that particular deficit is by getting a good free-trade agreement with China.

LockeKeith Locke Link to this

Has the Prime Minister discussed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs making the SAS contingent that returned to New Zealand this morning the last special forces unit to fight in Afghanistan with the US-led coalition force, in the light of the international criticism of the mistreatment of prisoners by that force, and the way that it conducts its operations with little regard for civilians?

ClarkRt Hon HELEN CLARK Link to this

The answer to the first part of the question is “No”. In respect of the second part of the question, I want to say that the SAS has done a very, very good job in Afghanistan. The Minister of Defence welcomed the third contingent back this morning. We believe that the contingent acquitted itself well, and I certainly do not rule out future deployments for it.

BRASHDr Don Brash Link to this

Does she agree with the comment of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at APEC that more could have been done by the Government to monitor the private language schools that have gone bankrupt, or does she agree with the Minister of Trade that Mr Peters’ view was incorrect, and that “We have actually made provision for the students at that school in a way that most other countries of the world would not have bothered.”?

ClarkRt Hon HELEN CLARK Link to this

A good part of earlier periods of this Government were spent precisely dealing with bad practice in international education, which had given our country a bad name. We dealt with it.

BRASHDr Don Brash Link to this

Does she agree with the Minister of Foreign Affairs that the reporting of his trip to APEC by the New Zealand Herald was “treasonous”; if not, does she believe that it is appropriate for senior members of the Government, such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to be making such wildly provocative—indeed, intimidating—comments about the New Zealand media?

ClarkRt Hon HELEN CLARK Link to this

I would not have used that term myself. In my experience in over 24 years in this place protracted rows with the news media are not particularly productive, and my advice to both the New Zealand Herald and the Minister is to get over it.

BRASHDr Don Brash Link to this

Does she agree with the statement made by Mr Goff that having Mr Peters in the Cabinet would be like having one’s mother-in-law living in one’s house, in that “It’s much easier sometimes when she’s next door, and you’ve each got your own space.”; and whether or not she agrees with it, what does she think Mr Goff’s statement says about the relationship between him and Mr Peters?

ClarkRt Hon HELEN CLARK Link to this

What is says is that Labour is absolutely determined to give smaller parties that work with it room to breathe—unlike the National - New Zealand First coalition, which collapsed because no room was left for that party to keep its identity.

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