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Clark's Art Fraud Speaks Volumes

14 April 2002


"Helen Clark's attempt to pass off an artist's work as her own shows her contempt for honesty and speaks volumes about her ethics and values," says National's Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Belinda Vernon.

Ms Vernon says Helen's Clark's response to her fraud being exposed highlights an arrogance and disdain unbecoming of a Prime Minister.

"This is not a mere error of judgement - it raises questions about the Prime Minister's ethics.

"It is the most basic principle of honesty that you don't sign something that is not your own work. A signature is an indication of authenticity. Everyone knows that and the Prime Minister most certainly should."

Ms Vernon says Helen Clark holds herself out as a person of integrity, but her action reveals that this - like her painting - is fake.

"Actions speak louder than words. What sort of example is this setting?

"The Prime Minister is happy to let a fraud carry on for four years and when she's exposed she makes trite excuses."

Ms Vernon says this is yet another example of hypocrisy from Helen Clark.

"Dover Samuels lost his job for failing to 'fess up to a past mistake, but the Prime Minister tries to wiggle out of her fraud by making excuses.

"Nobody in their right mind - particularly someone interested in the arts - could possibly justify passing off someone else's work as their own. This action completely dents Helen Clark's credibility as Minister for the Arts.

"This fraudulent act shows the Prime Minister's understanding of honesty, good faith and integrity differ substantially from ordinary New Zealanders' understanding," Ms Vernon concluded.

Ends

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