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Saturday, August 15

NZ talks tough on Burma while training the Junta’s stooges

New Zealand must back up its words with action against the Burmese regime - and ensure no official representatives of its military dictatorship receive training in New Zealand, said Green Party MP Kennedy Graham.

The conviction and sentencing of Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has caused a global outcry – including a call from New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully for Aung San Suu Kyi’s immediate release. All the while New Zealand continues to trade with Burma and trains the regime’s officials.

"While the New Zealand Government is vocal in its condemnation of Fiji, and rightly so, it would seem that for some years now NZ has happily played host to officials from one of the cruellest most repressive regimes in the world.

"Government officials from Burma have been sponsored through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to come to New Zealand and brush up on their English language skills at our polytechnics," said Dr Graham.

"It is time to stop hosting official representatives of the Burmese junta – who may have committed crimes against their fellow citizens.

"The New Zealand public needs some answers from our Foreign Minister about just who has been coming to New Zealand from Burma at the New Zealand taxpayer’s expense.

"It is also time for New Zealand to urge other ASEAN trading partners to apply whatever pressure they can to bear on the Burmese regime," said Dr Graham.

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