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Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments

It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party.

I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I knew absolutely nothing about the Barnaby Joyce case until it broke in the media yesterday afternoon.

I had no knowledge about the Parliamentary Questions lodged by Chris Hipkins MP.

I have also been clear that those questions were not appropriate.

I also note that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has confirmed that the Australian media inquiries were the instigator of this issue and that he has described connections of the New Zealand Labour Party to this issue as “utter nonsense.”

I greatly value New Zealand’s relationship with the Australian Government. I will not let false claims stand in the way of that relationship.

I would happily take a call from Julie Bishop to clarify matters.

I have also contacted the Australian High Commission to register my disappointment and will be meeting with the High Commissioner later today.