No apology needed, Helen

The Green Party has defended the Prime Minister’s right to suggest that a different US administration would not have launched a full-scale invasion of Iraq.

“Most New Zealanders are proud that our Prime Minister has spoken out against the war,” Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Keith Locke said today.

“Helen Clark was simply stating an opinion that most New Zealanders would agree with. She has absolutely nothing to apologise for.

“The only apology owed in this whole bizarre incident is one from the American Embassy for interfering in the politics of a sovereign country. What right do Bush’s agents have to dictate what our Prime Minister can or cannot say? It’s very arrogant.

“International bullying, in this case the suppression of views perceived as critical to the Bush administration, should be as unacceptable in Wellington as it is in Paris, Moscow or Berlin.

“A little bit of advice for Bill English. Party leaders don’t survive by being weak, and grovelling at the feet of a US president.

“It is sadly ironic that the thin-skinned regime in the White House has taken umbrage over a quite harmless observation at a time when it is in breach of the UN Charter and international law, through its invasion and devastation of Iraq.

“If Helen Clark is going to be in communication with the White House, perhaps she could make a polite inquiry about how many weapons of mass destruction Mr Bush’s army has uncovered so far,” said Keith Locke. “If the answer’s ‘none,’ then perhaps Mr Bush would care to make an apology of his own.”