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Helen Clark deplores Sunday Star Times attack

3 September 2000 Media Statement

Helen Clark deplores Sunday Star Times attack

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the Sunday Star Times article on a proposed commercial boarding house in her electorate seriously distorted the facts about the planning application and her submission on it.

Helen Clark said it was wrong for the Sunday Star Times to claim that the proposed building was a "home for the needy".

She said that the proposal was for the existing 27-room historic boarding house to be expanded to 88 rooms as a commercial proposition by absentee landlords.

Helen Clark said she was, and always had been, totally supportive of properly supervised group accommodation for people with special needs for support.

"This proposal, however, did not remotely resemble such a proposition. It was for a three-storey, commercial accommodation block on a busy road. My submission drew attention to its visual unattractiveness and to the traffic congestion around the access to the site.

"The independent planning commissioner appointed by the Auckland City Council has taken on board a number of the concerns raised by local residents and has required that the number of rooms be reduced by 11, that more on-site managers are appointed, and that the building has more amenities than were planned.

"It should be noted that the proposal was greeted with near unanimous opposition by neighbours, who have fought to retain the Edwardian character and suburban style of the area against commercial encroachment for many years."

Helen Clark said the Sunday Star Times story was also a new low in attack journalism in another serious respect.

"This Sunday paper has published on its front page a photograph of my house and a map pinpointing its location. This raises serious security concerns for me to the extent that I now must consider whether I can continue to live in my own home.

"I have endeavoured as Prime Minister to maintain a normal lifestyle in the modest community I love, with supportive and friendly neighbours. The Sunday Star Times has seriously jeopardised that. I leave it to the public to judge whether this is an acceptable standard of journalism," Helen Clark said.


Contact: Mark Mark Donnelly, Eden Park Neighbours' Association, Ph 09 630 8834,

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