Fran O'Sullivan: Fuss over harmless flights leaves us a laughing stock

Fran O'Sullivan: Fuss over harmless flights leaves us a laughing stockCabinet ministers should take a sharp look at how their hyperbolic behaviour over the Air New Zealand charter flights imbroglio is being read in Canberra and elsewhere. The flights carrying Australian troops to the Middle East… [NZ Politics]

Fran O'Sullivan joins the chorus of commentators enjoying the complete bollocksing up of quite a simple matter by experienced Cabinet Ministers. So badly have they handled the situation that theyhave caused a diplomatic row with our closest ally Australia.

[quote]Now, Ministry of Foreign Affairs boss Simon Murdoch is being castigated by senior cabinet ministers for what the Stalinists would recognise as a political crime: failing to pre-judge six months ago that senior cabinet ministers like Phil Goff (and others) would decide to use New Zealand's position on the Iraq war as a wedge against their National opponents – particularly leader John Key – with a damn-the-consequences approach.

That approach extends to Australia. Neither Defence Minister Phil Goff nor Foreign Minister Winston Peters had the good grace to pick up the phone and alert Canberra to the highly nuanced situation.[/quote]

That is just beautiful calling them Stalinists, just beautiful, Fran you can now join the Bloggers Union as an honorary member. Fran goes on to castigate Minister for not even bothering to read simple briefing papers.

[quote]But the red faces don't stop there. Murdoch has taken the fall over the acute political embarrassment senior cabinet ministers feel after the way the charter flights story – to Kuwait, not Iraq – was spun. But he's not out of step on the facts.

For those ministers who may have failed to read their briefing papers, Iraq has a democratically elected government which wants external forces to help in the stabilisation effort.

Again, for those ministers, Iraq has already been the recipient of 60 New Zealand troops ("contributing forces", as former United States official Paul Wolfowitz describes our engineers) in the post-invasion stabilisation.

And New Zealand was put on the United States' list for commercial contracts to rebuild Iraq after it contributed forces, a recognised tit-for-tat that did not cause senior cabinet ministers any moral qualms in 2003.[/quote]

Of course nonone yet has commented that Air New Zealand flies daily to the "leper" of the South Pacific, Fiji. Surely that is much more of a travesty in Clark's Stalinist play book.?