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Politics And Integrity Take Another Blow

15 April 2002

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says politics and integrity have taken another blow with the revelations about the Prime Minister and paintings.

"In many ways, this issue is bigger than the particular question of the Prime Minister putting her signature to a picture she did not paint."

"That is a matter for her to resolve with her own conscience."

"To many New Zealanders, this incident, coming as it does on the top of the Alliance's squirming to avoid the provisions of the Electoral Integrity Act, will be further confirmation that politics and integrity are strangers in today's New Zealand."

"The notion of public service has been sullied over the years, and this incident will simply add to the general debasing of politics in the public mind," he says.

Mr Dunne says that while politicians will never be popular, they do have a right to seek public respect.

"Actions like this simply destroy public respect, and with it, erode respect for the institutions of our society and the processes by which we are governed."

"We cannot seriously expect New Zealanders to continue to show loyalty to the institutions of our society and to repose trust in those institutions, while this sort of conduct occurs," he says.

"Recently, the Prime Minister and her colleagues were quick to applaud the Race Relations Conciliator when he stood aside because of a perceived fear that his private actions might have compromised his public role."

"The parallel here is striking and the Prime Minister and her colleagues should reflect long and hard upon it," Mr Dunne says.

Ends

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