Dunne attacks Iraq plans and British Foreign Secretary

Peter Dunne launched a strong attack on plans to deploy New Zealand troops in Iraq and slammed the Bristish Foreign Secretary in his opening speech for the year in Parliament yesterday.

Audrey Young reports in NZ’s Iraq mission under attack.

Mr Dunne also launched a stinging attack on comments made in New Zealand last week by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond when he said: “Frankly we’ve got used to New Zealand being there alongside us, alongside the US, the UK, Australia, as part of the family.”

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the training was made at the request of the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating.

Prime Minister John Key has already made it clear he wants to deploy up to 100 NZDF staff in a training mission with Australia which has 600 people in Iraq.

Mr Dunne, a minister and the leader of United Future, described Mr Hammond as a “patronising figure from abroad loftily telling us we are in the club, we are part of the family and it would be lovely to have you along for the next round of unmitigated slaughter”.

He said the debating chamber had plaques on the wall of other times “the family” had acted together.

“Gallipoli, the mindless slaughter of Australian and New Zealand troops in the pursuit of a British objective, Passchendaele and the Somme, so to come here and say to New Zealanders today ‘we love having you on board, you are part of the family but you’ve still got to queue up at the aliens gate at Heathrow’ is unacceptable in the extreme.”

National need the support of Dunne or the Maori Party as well as ACT to get a majority in Parliament until after next month’s Northland by-election.

For a deployment to Iraq they should be seeking wide Parliamentary support. They may have a battle at home on their hands.

This cartoon was for the Afghanistan invasion but the sentiment could apply to the difficulties in dealing with the whole Middle East.

Smaller RubbleThe whole of Dunne’s comments on the Iraqi deployment (draft transcript):

I want to talk about a couple of other measures that are contained in the Prime Minister’s speech that I think the House deserves to pay some attention to.

There was, in the statement, a reference very late in the day to the appalling situation now developing as a result of the barbarous activities of the Isalmic State of Iraq and the Levant. No one can condone what has been occurring.

No one can say that it is in any way acceptable or meets any reasonable standard of human behaviour. The difficulty comes in what is an effective solution.

When one looks at the Middle East generally, the immediate conclusion to be drawn is that Western intervention over the last century, be it from the time of the Balfour Declaration right through to now, has had one universal outcome: failure, division, and more intense bitterness and rivalry than was in place before it started.

So when we determine, as this country, what our response to that appalling situation should be, we need to be guided by the history.

Maybe Sir Tīpene was right. Pākehā often do not know their history if we seem determined to blunder in and repeat the mistakes of the past. We need to be working alongside responsible Governments in the area, encouraging them first off to seek solutions to their own issues and to seek their own solutions, not have them imposed upon them by us acting in a “we know best” sense from the outside.

It is a difficult balance because we cannot stand by and let barbarism continue, but at the same time we cannot act in a way that is simply going to fuel those fires more strongly for the future.

One of the challenges that New Zealand faces is to draw that responsible line. I must say in this regard that the intervention last week of the British foreign secretary on his visit here was anything but helpful.

This Chamber carries the plaques that remember the consequences of the last time the family acted together: Gallipoli, the mindless slaughter of Australian and New Zealand troops in the pursuit of a British objective, Passchendaele, and the Somme.

So to come here and say to New Zealanders today “We love having you on board. You’re part of the family, but you’ve still got to queue up at the alien gate at Heathrow.” is unacceptable in the extreme.

I would have thought that a well-briefed visiting politician on these issues would understand the sensitivity of New Zealanders.

After all, in the 1980s the more the United States administration of Ronald Reagan told us what our anti-nuclear policy was not to be, the more we embraced the stand that the New Zealand Government was taking. We are like that as a people.

Here is this patronising figure from abroad loftily telling us that we are in the club, we are part of the family, and it would be lovely to have us along for the next round of unmitigated slaughter, and it is simply unacceptable.

New Zealand should draw the line very strongly when it comes to that.

It’s not just the House that should pay attention to that. Are there any journalists other than Audrey Young not obsessed with trumpeting trivia?

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