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We're The Only Game In Town, Says PM

Prime minister Helen Clark said National’s lack of direction or clear policies is behind their poor showing in recent polls.

“[The Government]’s the only game in town,” she said. “I don’t think [National] know where to go. Their hearts are in the policies of the nineties and there’s not much public appetite for that at the moment.”

Miss Clark said two solid months of muckraking has reflected badly on Parliament and only served to highlight the lack of alternatives being offered by the opposition.

Miss Clark acknowledged the mudslinging has been a two way street and said she didn’t see the attacks from her own benches as being any more honorable than those coming from National’s Wyatt Creech.

She said she was glad National MP Max Bradford’s wife Rosemary had accepted Trevor Mallard’s apology, and said the legal cost to the Government was minimal because the issue was dealt with swiftly.

Miss Clark said ministers are particularly vulnerable to litigation and said sometimes honest mistakes are made. Mr Mallard made allegations about Rosemary Bradford in and out of the house that later proved to be unfounded.

The Prime Minister said the Green Party is here to stay, after a recent poll showed their support had increased by two per cent, and said she expected their popularity to be steady around the 5 per cent support they have now.

Also at today’s post-cabinet press conference:

VIETNAM VETERANS: The Prime Minister said New Zealand will move into line with Australia in the recognition of the conditions arising from exposure to chemical warfare in Vietnam that require support, move to streamline services for vets and their children and put right legislation changes of the 80s affecting veterans’ rights to collect pensions.

SMOKING ADVERISEMENT: The Prime Minister said an advertisement printed in a German magazine showing people smoking on the Hollyford Valley Walk is incredibly damaging to the country’s clean green image. “I’m outraged by it,” she said.

SOUTH ISLAND WATERFRONT DISPUTE: The Prime Minister rejected opposition claims that the government should never have gotten into the South Island waterfront dispute. “We made the right decision.”

HONG KONG CER: The Prime Minister said negotiations had not yet begun, and said advancing closer economic relations with Hong Kong was on her agenda for her upcoming Asian trip.

CHINESE GENERAL: The Prime Minister said New Zealand invited a Chinese General to visit and said it is desirable for China and New Zealand’s military to understand each other. She said the Government thinks the US servicemen from the spy plane being held by China should be sent home.

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