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PM Slips Up Again - English

26 April 2002

"Today's Securities Commission report shows that Helen Clark has again fallen below standards expected of the Prime Minster," says National Leader Bill English

Mr English says this comes in the wake of revelations about her fake paintings scandal and lack of integrity over the Electoral Integrity Act. His comments follow the Securities Commission's report, which shows Helen Clark should have taken greater care in responding to questions about shareholding in Air New Zealand last September.

"Helen Clark may have escaped prosecution from the Securities Commission due to a out-of-date law, but her comments over Air New Zealand were totally inappropriate for the Prime Minister.

"The report clearly shows the Prime Minister was not 'ambushed' by questions as she has claimed, and that she should have responded to questions about Air New Zealand's shareholding in a different manner."

Mr English says what really saved the Prime Minister is the report's concession about the unsuitability of the 14-year old Securities Amendment Act and the need for the Government to include a review of tipping in its promised reform of insider trading laws.

"The Securities Commission implicitly recognised that the Prime Minister's comments were wrong and the law should be reformed to prevent this happening again.

"Helen Clark got off on a technicality, but it doesn't hide the fact that the Prime Minister was commercially naive and out of line in telling people to hold on to their Air New Zealand shares.

"The Securities Commission makes this abundantly clear when the report says: 'Statements were made that we consider to have been inappropriate both from a securities' markets' perspective and by the standards which we consider the Crown, and the Prime Minister as its representative, should have followed when making statements about Air NZ'," Mr English concluded.

Ends

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