English criticises Obama in latest tape

Last updated 19:16 04/11/2008
PETER MEECHAM/The Press
APOLOGY: National Party deputy Bill English has acknowledged that his statements had caused "confusion and concern" about National's intentions on KiwiBank and Working for Families.

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Another secretly taped conversation with National's deputy leader has surfaced, recording Bill English expressing concerns about "moralistic" views expressed by US presidential candidate Barak Obama.

The recordings were made by a young man who infiltrated National's annual conference in August, and they have been leaked in batches to TV3 News.

Mr English has previously apologised for saying during a conversation with the imposter that he would like to eventually sell Kiwibank.

He is heard on tonight's tape saying: "I'm a bit worried about this whole Obama and Europe thing, just because there's a limited effectiveness in being moralistic about international relations and Europe has turned out to be particularly ineffective even in its own backyard.

"And the US can argue over-do it (sic) and Bush should have put a different window dressing - there still needs someone willing to pull the trigger."

Mr Obama has said he will pull troops out of the Iraq war, and opinion polls show he is likely to win the presidential election on Thursday (NZT).

National Party leader John Key said he was not concerned about Mr English's comments, and blamed Labour for leaking the tapes.

"Another week on the campaign trail, another dirty trick from Labour. No great surprise, these guys are desperate," he said.

Mr English declined to be interviewed by TV3 so he could explain what he meant.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said his comments showed National would have sent troops to Iraq.

"What it tells us is how militaristic the National Party is," she said.

"If there's a war going they want to be part of it."

Miss Clark said the comments were "particularly unfortunate" and could have implications in Washington if Mr Obama was elected president.

Mr Key brushed that aside.

"If I'm prime minister of New Zealand in five days time I'll be able to strike up a good working relationship with him," Mr Key said.

Miss Clark said she had no idea who taped the conversation.

National has tried to identify the young man, who got into a cocktail party pretending to be a member of the party's youth wing, but it has not been able to do so.

- NZPA

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