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Kia Kaha, John

Kia Kaha, John

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today urged junior Minister John Tamihere to remain strong in his views on social welfare, rather than apologising to fellow Minister Steve Maharey as ordered by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

"ACT applauds Mr Tamihere for having the courage to step away from Labour's spin and give his view on social welfare," said Dr Newman.

"The reaction to Mr Tamihere's speech, in which he slammed Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey's welfare direction, was indicative of Helen Clark's divide and rule dictatorship. It shows that not all are created equal in the Labour ranks.

"While Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia is permitted to make outrageously inflammatory statements, Mr Tamihere - who has extensive experience in the field - is brought sharply into line for simply voicing what the rest of the country thinks.

"Mr Tamihere should be applauded for having the guts to step out of Helen Clark's long shadow, and ACT hopes he continues to do so on Mr Maharey's misguided welfare policies," Dr Newman said.

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