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Pentagon confirms NZ is on the outer

National Party Leader Bill English says fresh reports from officials at the Pentagon confirm that Helen Clark has gone too far with her criticism of our traditional friends and allies.

"She could have maintained her opposition to the Iraqi war without resorting to insults directed at Australia, Britain and the US," says Mr English.

He's referring to statements from Pentagon advisor Andrew Scobell who says US defence officials are now regarding the New Zealand Government with disdain.

Dr Scobell has been reported as saying it may take a change of Government in Washington and Wellington and many years for relations between the two countries to thaw.

He's recommending that New Zealand and Australia are treated very differently, suggesting the attitude towards New Zealand should be luke-warm but not hostile.

"Dr Scobell's report is confirms to us that the wounds caused by Helen Clark's bid to be an international commentator will not be easily healed," says Mr English.

"Now in Europe, she's suggesting New Zealand's national interests might be best served by a Franco/German/Russia linkup with good links through to the Chinese.

"At the same time she's been describing our closest friends and traditional allies as 'a small Anglo/American group'.

"New Zealand can ill afford to spend years repairing the damage from Helen Clark's diplomatic bungling," says Mr English.

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