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Clark Should Explain Lack Of Action On Payouts

Wednesday 19 Jun 2002

ACT MP Dr Muriel Newman said today that Prime Minister Helen Clark was trying to hide her embarrassment over the failings of this Government by issuing torrents of abuse against those revealing her shortcomings.

"The fact of the matter is that the Prime Minister has been sprung. She has been exposed. She basically won the last election on a platform of ending secret payouts in the public sector. Yet, in the past 32 months her Government has paid out over $4 million in secret payouts. The Prime Minister has done nothing to stop this. There have been plenty of opportunities for the Government to put the situation right. And yet Ms Clark's Government in 2000 voted down my private members bill which would have dealt with the issue. Why has she taken no action?

"And now incredibly, the Prime Minister is referring to the $4 million of payouts as `petty cash'. It would take the total tax bill of about 200 working Kiwis on average incomes over the past three years to raise that $4 million. I doubt whether such people regard their hard-earned income as `petty cash'. The Prime Minister's arrogance knows no bounds.

"But it was very different before the last election. Consider this statement from Helen Clark on November 23, 1999: `Labour wants to be able to look the ordinary hard-working taxpayer in the eye and say that their tax dollars are being spent on the things which matter. We will expect wastage of public funds to stop and a new era of moderation, frugality and integrity to develop throughout the public sector'.

"I invite the Prime Minister to front up to those taxpayers she cared so much about before the last election and explain why she's now treating their hard-earned money as `petty cash'," Dr Newman said.


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