Clark bets a bob each way on war

Green MP Keith Locke is accusing the Government of making soothing noises to dampen anti-war sentiment at home while carefully refraining from upsetting the White House.

“Today’s brief statement to the United Nations, delivered by our ambassador, was a classic example of the ‘say something, do nothing’ approach of this Government,” said Mr Locke, the Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

“In fact, it missed a golden opportunity to deliver a blunt ‘no war’ message to George Bush in his own country. Amazingly, today’s statement made no mention of George Bush or America’s drive to war.

“The statement quite rightly expressed a preference for ‘diplomatic solution’ but then endorsed the use of force ‘as a last resort’ and offered no condemnation of the threatening stance taken by the US, which is doing more than anything else to undermine the effectiveness of the weapons inspection programme in Iraq.

“There are a number of effective ways this government can communicate this country’s strong sentiment for peace to the United States.

“The easiest would be for Helen Clark to summon the US ambassador to the Beehive and leave him in no doubt of New Zealand’s abhorrence of Bush’s War for Oil.

“Another would be to pull our frigate and Orion out of the war area, where their surveillance work directly contribute to America’s planning for the invasion of Iraq.

“A third would have been to instruct New Zealand’s ambassador to the UN to today deliver a strong rebuke to the war-makers and make a commitment that New Zealand will not support or condone any war on Iraq, with or without Security Council endorsement,” Keith Locke said.

“We note with disappointment that the Clark government has done none of these things. With war looming, now is not the time for faint hearts.”