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Clark caught out again on Corngate

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

03 September 2003

Clark caught out again on Corngate

National Party Leader Bill English has tabled papers in Parliament that show the Prime Minister's office deprived the public of many more Corngate documents during the election campaign.

"Papers that I tabled in parliament today show there were no less than 184 separate documents that the Office of the Prime Minister failed to release to the public and 170 of them were dated prior to July 11 2002," says Mr English

"They were kept back long after Helen Clark ordered total disclosure.

"The day before the PM's political adviser Ruth Wilkie complained about the decision to withhold documents, Helen Clark was on television saying 'this is a government that is accountable, doesn't cover things up'.

"She was saying 'people got a full account, not only a full account but they're getting the whole bucket load of documents landed.'

"Helen Clark failed to say notes her office didn't deem 'necessary' weren't being released. Now we know there weren't just four briefing notes held back, but 184 documents.

The National Party has also released a memo from State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham dated July 12, after Government officials had gone on the record rejecting accusations in Nicky Hager's book.

"The memo was sent to more than 35 senior public servants it read 'the appearance may be that these public servants are no more than political puppets, especially since what they are now saying is different to what the official papers at the time said'. "It's astounding that none of these civil servants released the document, including Mark Prebble, head of DPMC.

"It's also beyond the realms of credibility that the Prime Minister did not know that all these documents were being held back.

"She also claims to have had no knowledge and no interest in the science of GM, yet she spent a lot of time briefing journalists about the technical aspects of the controversy. "It's laughable to suggest she hadn't seen and taken note of documents that cast doubt on the Government position. This is a cover-up of an alleged cover-up.

"There is now no doubt that Helen Clark is guilty of misleading the public on more than one occasion during the election campaign," says Mr English.


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