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The House: General Debate Themes

ACC, Jenny Shipley and National's political management and Labour's tactics were the most common themes in the General debate today.

Government members tried to set the agenda and praised the ACC changes and how much they would save businesses. However, Labour MPs launched into National and in particular Jenny Shipley over events of the last week and her political management.

Trevor Mallard told how at first National were 'beating' up an upcoming speech by the PM and then spin-doctors later changed their minds and went around the Gallery playing down.

A number of Labour MPs followed the themes set up by Mr Mallard and questioned the Prime Minister's recent personal explanation and questioned her integrity and ability. But the Speaker stopped most in the their tracks because of standing orders that restrict criticism of explanations to the House.

Sir William Birch attacked those attacking the Prime Minister. He described Mrs Shipley as the most popular Prime Minister in a long time and warned the media that if they went around quoting comments made in social settings, then many of the things they said in the same settings would be able to make headlines as well.

Labour's George Hawkins mocked Sir William saying he was just saying thankyou for a knighthood. His theme that followed that National were doomed and thrashing around and the following rebuttals that Labour were misreading the public's opinion dominated the rest of the General Debate.

The House is currently considering members' bills and there will be coverage in The Scoop later.

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