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Helen Clark Has No More Excuses To Avoid Questions

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman says Helen Clark has run out of excuses to avoid talking about her key role in the sham merger of the Department of Work and Income and the Ministry of Social Policy.

“The Prime Minister has been hiding behind an instruction from the Chief Employment Court Judge that parties to the Christine Rankin-State Services Commissioner case should ‘refrain from comment on the merits’ of the case.

“The Prime Minister has refused to answer 11 written parliamentary questions from me on questions as basic as dates of meetings about the merger, citing this instruction as the reason.

“This excuse is no excuse and she knows it. She is treating the people of New Zealand with smug contempt.

“I wrote to the Chief Employment Court Judge seeking clarification and was informed by letter today that the Judge’s instruction referred ONLY to Christine Rankin and the State Services Commissioner. Even after being told this in Parliament today the Prime Minister again refused to answer questions. Helen Clark has NO legitimate reason to avoid the questions. Why is she refusing to answer?

“This is the same Helen Clark who before the last election accused the National Government of ‘too many lies, too many scandals’ and promised of her Government: ‘It will be open. It will be accountable’.

“I am not asking the Prime Minister about Christine Rankin, I am asking her to tell the New Zealand public about her role in instigating a merger in which no costings were done and the departments weren’t informed. It is time for Helen Clark to prove that she meant what she said before the election.

“The 5000-plus staff and over a million clients affected by this major state sector reorganisation demand some of that openness and accountability now,” Dr Newman said.


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