26 April 2005

Teflon John'dismayed' by talk of ANZAC snub

BerlinBear avatarPreviously posted on my old blog.

In this article in today's New Zealand Herald, we find that poor, put-upon Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard is 'dismayed' by talk that he deliberately snubbed the New Zealand memorial service at Gallipoli two days ago. I blogged about this issue here.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard is said to be dismayed by reports that he snubbed New Zealand’s memorial service at Gallipoli and has given a personal explanation to Prime Minister Helen Clark. ...

Mr Howard’s decision to go to a barbecue on the beach with his troops instead of the New Zealand service received extensive coverage in New Zealand for the two days before the 90th anniversary commemorations and after it.

Some reports said New Zealand officials had tried to convince Australian officials to get Mr Howard to attend, warning that it would be seen as an insult. ...

But according to Helen Clark’s spokesman, Mr Howard told Helen Clark that no one had told him that the New Zealand service was being held at a different time to Australia’s. He had not realised it was possible to attend both.

He was said to have been as dismayed as she was at reports that he had snubbed the service.
You know what I think? I think that is bollocks. No one told him that the NZ service was being held at a different time? Crap! When travel arrangements are made for Prime Ministers, whole teams of embassy, security, liaison and press staff are involved in making sure everything runs smoothly, right down to the last detail. And not one of them knew that there were two different ceremonies going on at two different times? How can it be then that the New Zealand contingent knew exactly what the Australian plans were and could plan their own movements accordingly? What about the "flurry of emails" that is said to have been exchanged between New Zealand and Australian defence staff to sort out this problem? Did no one who received those emails think perhaps the details should be passed on to the Prime Minister? In short, of course Howard knew.

My assessment of John Howard from the other day as "an odious little man with an attitude problem and a misplaced desire to turn his country into a carbon-copy of the USA" stands. Having read this story, I think I can now safely add liar to that list.