Key and Brownlee cannot get Iraq story straight

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence need to get their stories straight regarding what they knew, and when, about a report highlighting safety concerns at Camp Taji, the Green Party says.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence need to get their stories straight regarding what they knew, and when, about a report highlighting safety concerns at Camp Taji, the Green Party says.

The US Department of Defence released a report the week before the Prime Minister’s visit, highlighting American concerns over safety at the Iraqi camp. Yet Mr Key made no mention of these reports when talking about Taji’s safety while he was over there. He then denied any knowledge of the report yesterday, when asked by reporters.

“On Monday, the Prime Minister said he knew nothing about the US report and had not seen it,” said Green Party defence spokesperson Kennedy Graham.

“But today Defence Minister Brownlee told reporters the Prime Minister had been told about the report. So who is right, and who is wrong? 

“They can’t have it both ways; either the Prime Minister knew about the report and said he didn’t, or the Defence Minister never told him.

“They both need to be upfront with New Zealanders. Deployment of New Zealand troops abroad is a serious issue, and so is the requirement of ministers of the Crown to be honest with the New Zealand people.

“The Prime Minister’s visit to Iraq was already a PR stunt and now it’s emerged that he may have also misled the media and the public.

“We shouldn’t, of course, even be in Iraq in the first place. It is disappointing that our Ministers are playing political games with such a serious and dangerous situation,” said Dr Graham.

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