Russel Norman got dealt to by Key and Shearer in question time today. He kept asking Key questions about timing of withdrawal from Afghanistan trying to box Key into saying there was no reason not to withdraw when the next rotation ends about October. But Key’s answers were all reasoned and sensible.
Then Shearer came in with a supplementary question:
David Shearer: Will the Prime Minister accept the Labour Party’s support for an orderly transition of the forces out of Afghanistan as promptly as possible?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am more than happy to give the member a briefing on all the things that are taking place, the reasons for why we are going through this process, and why it is the belief of the Chief of Defence Force and the military that the programme that we are on to withdraw is the right one.
I think, to be frank, we have worked in a spirit of cooperation for a very long period of time with the Labour Party on this issue, as I think National did in Opposition, and we are more than happy to inform the member of the rationale for what is happening and why we are doing what we are doing.
Some of that information is confidential and we cannot put it in the public domain, but we respect the member’s word and he would, obviously, appreciate that information. If he and the Opposition defence spokesman want to have a briefing, then I am happy to have that arranged by the Chief of Defence Force.
Shearer nodded in acknowledgement.
Norman tried one more futile question that Key gave a detailed answer too.
But Shearer had effectively teamed with Key, giving him the opportunity to explain who has called the shots (National and Labour) and who is not included at the big table.
I hope when we do get a Labour-Green government there are no international conflicts we have to get involved in. Similar to Greens I prefer not to get involved in any wars, but the realities of the world mean it is sometimes more dangerous not to.