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Spot the difference?

Richard Worth Epsom MP

30 April 2004

Spot the difference?

"Helen Clark's handling of the Tariana Turia affair appears to contrast starkly with the way David Lange dealt with Jim Anderton in 1988," says National Party Epsom MP, Richard Worth.

On December 10, 1988 Mr Anderton abstained from voting on legislation that would open the way for the sale of the Bank of New Zealand. Within just three days of that vote, Mr Anderton was suspended from the Labour caucus.

That came late in a year in which Mr Anderton had already been disciplined.

In March 1988 he was forced to resign from his role as chairman of the foreign affairs and trade select committee. He was also declared an independent by Mr Lange after publicly opposing economic and social policy.

"At the time, Mr Anderton was a back-bench MP - Tariana Turia is a junior Minister.

"Helen Clark is maintaining two standards of Ministerial accountability.

"Tariana Turia is already in clear breach of section 3.22 of the Cabinet Manual which states 'a Minister's support and responsibility for the collective Government position must always be clear'.

"The Prime Minister is trampling all over the conventions that are a cornerstone of our Parliamentary democracy.

"Those conventions were put in place and adhered to by successive governments in order to ensure stability of executive government.

"Perhaps it is time for the Governor-General to ask if the Prime Minister has the confidence of Parliament," Mr Worth says.


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