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Govt's Trans-Tasman Agreement In Disarray

Just days after the new Trans-Tasman social security agreement was signed it has descended to a state of disarray, with the Government clearly confused over what it really means, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"Helen Clark signed this deal without reading the small print, and the Government is now discovering the deal doesn't mean what they thought it meant," Mrs Shipley said.

Social Services Minister Steve Maharey today admitted that the Government's newly printed 'Thinking about Living in Australia' booklet contains interpretations of the new deal which are significantly different from the actual effects of the new deal. The booklet is wrong, and it will need to be amended or reprinted at an undisclosed cost to taxpayers.

"It is clear that the Government thought the deal worked differently than it actually does. The Government is now scrambling to find out what the real effects are, days after having signed the deal.

"Helen Clark and her cronies were so intent on putting a positive spin on this deal that they neglected to fully understand its ramifications. New Zealanders have every right to be very sceptical about the Prime Minister's portrayal of how this deal affects their rights. The Opposition will scrutinise Ministers and officials through the select committee process to expose the Government's appalling management of this issue.

"The Government failed to think through the implications of this new deal, but signed away the rights of New Zealanders regardless. Mr Maharey is now attempting to conceal the chaos created by his Government's ill-considered commitment to an agreement which massively disadvantages New Zealanders.

"Mr Maharey had the sheer effrontery to issue a media release last night accusing me of inaccurate claims in a Parliamentary question. My claims were in direct accord with the booklet his Government had issued. It was the Government who got this very badly wrong," Jenny Shipley said.


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