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Clark sat on sidelines while Henry abused powers

(reposted to correct byline...)

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition
24 August 2001

Clark sat on sidelines while Henry abused her powers

It is utterly unacceptable that the Prime Minister sat on information regarding the Ella Henry debacle, rather than requiring her resignation immediately, National Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"Ella Henry clearly abused the powers of her office, and displayed racist attitudes that are inappropriate for a Human Rights Commissioner to hold when they sit in judgement of other New Zealanders," Jenny Shipley said.

"We have reason to believe the Prime Minister has known about this abuse of power for some time, and her staff closely followed the Official Information Act process by which Ms Henry's actions were eventually exposed.

"Yesterday Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson stated 'I understand she has apologised and that the apology has been accepted by the Police who consider the matter closed. Therefore, I also consider the matter closed.' That response exposes the Government, and their belief they could ride this issue out.

"I want to know why the Prime Minister and Margaret Wilson, having known about this incident, didn't demand her resignation, rather than waiting for pressure from the Opposition to force Ms Henry's hand.

"National welcomes the fact that Ms Henry has been fired. We now hope the Government will consult widely before appointing a new Commissioner to the role," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends

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