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PM Owes Rankin an Apology - Hide

PM Owes Rankin an Apology - Hide

Sunday 24 Feb 2002 Rodney Hide Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

Revelations that judges outspent former WINZ boss Christine Rankin on a conference at Wairakei Resort mean Prime Minister Helen Clark should be big enough to apologise to Ms Rankin, ACT MP Rodney Hide said today.

"Helen Clark and the Labour Party made huge political gains in Opposition out of mock outrage at WINZ spending $247,000 on a conference for 140 WINZ managers at Wairakei Resort. The $247,000 included $165,000 for a charter flight, which the Auditor General found saved money by avoiding another night's accommodation.

"In Opposition, Helen Clark's Labour party attacked Christine Rankin mercilessly. They persecuted the WINZ CEO for her "culture of extravagance" and made her spending an election issue. Ms Clark trumpeted that "the party is over. The nonsense is going to stop." She declared the "culture of extravagance" would end under Labour.

"A new era of frugality was Labour Party spin.

"We now learn that forty High Court judges had a similar conference at the same venue at a cost of $1,825 per judge. Christine Rankin's "culture of extravagance" cost $1,764 per WINZ manager.

"The total cost for the judges' conference was $72,500 and included costs for 36 of the Judges' partners.

"Clark must now front up and explain whether the judges' spending was extravagant, and if not, why was WINZ spending considered extravagant? Was it all just election rhetoric? Another example of the Maharey principle - `What you say in Opposition is different from what you do in Government'?"

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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