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Clark Talks Down Coalition Differences

The recent spat between coalition partners Labour and the Alliance was down-played by the Prime Minister Helen Clark today.

Speaking at the post Cabinet press conference in Parliament Prime Minister Helen Clark said there had been “amicable discussions” with Alliance Leader Jim Anderton about Labour and the Alliance’s partnership in Government.

Without elaborating on the detail, Miss Clark said the discussion was “a constructive exchange of views” on coalition management without any undertakings sought from either side.

Miss Clark also said there was no need for Cabinet to meet more often on issues of coalition differences.

The meeting today was the first since Labour dumped some key Alliance policy platforms in a bid to soften the bad news for businesses who were unhappy with planned changes to legislation.

The Alliance policies indefinitely postponed include a bill for paid parental leave and also legislation for youth rates and universal paid leave. Labour also plans to soften the impact of the Employment Relations Bill – a further source of discontent within Alliance party ranks.

The architect of the paid parental leave bill, Laila Harre, was absent from today’s meeting because of the recent death of her mother Miss Clark said.

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