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Clark's truce call rings hollow

Bill English National Member of Parliament

19 March 2001

Clark's truce call rings hollow

"Helen Clark's sudden change of heart over attacks on the families of MPs lacks both conviction and credibility," National's Deputy Leader Bill English said today.

"Just last Friday Ms Clark was endorsing mud-flinging attacks on the families of three National MPs by her enforcer Trevor Mallard. His allegations were without foundation and defamatory, but made under the protection of parliamentary privilege.

"Did Miss Clark revile from that tactic? No, she heartily endorsed it. She told The Evening Post (Friday 16 March) that she made no apology for Mr Mallard's attacks - and endorsed continued attacks on the spouses of Opposition MPs.

"Now, three days later, she's done an about-turn and is making a dash for the moral high-ground. But, like Mount Aconcagua, this is a summit she will never reach.

"Helen Clark cannot feasibly try to present herself as the person who wants to clean up politics when she has as recently as Friday endorsed the gutter politics of her Minister of Education.

"National does not attack the families of MPs, and we will not begin doing so. The questions about Peter Davis related to the accountability of public money and would be genuinely asked by any responsible Opposition.

"Labour is the party which has been using the weapon of attacks of people's families. Miss Clark can declare a cease-fire, but her Government must still answer the questions about the apparent conflict of interest by Professor Davis," Mr English said.

Ends

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