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John's Golden Koha

John's Golden Koha

ACT New Zealand Leader Rodney Hide today said the Labour Party was in a sad shape trying to describe Minister John Tamihere's $195,000 "golden handshake" as everything but a golden handshake.

"Labour is desperately trying to save the embarrassment of Helen Clark campaigning hard against golden handshakes and John Tamihere saying he wouldn't take one," Mr Hide said.

"Spin Number One was Michael Cullen telling Parliament that John's `Golden Koha' was not a `golden handshake' because, `no payment was made to get rid of Mr Tamihere from his job'.

"Helen Clark never made that distinction. And the golden handshakes that she opposed weren't near as golden as John Tamihere's.

"Spin Number Two was Labour Party President Mike Williams saying John's $195,000 payout was not a golden handshake because it was made up of bonuses for two years, an ex-gratia payment and pay for after he left his job as CEO.

"But that won't wash. The golden handshakes that Helen Clark opposed were made up of different components too. That didn't stop her campaigning hard against them.

"We now have John Tamihere saying it wasn't a golden handshake but koha. He had no option but to take it, he pleads. `It's a cultural issue in terms of koha. You don't throw koha back in their face,' he says.

"The Labour Party can call John's `Golden Koha' an elephant for all I care. John Tamihere said he wouldn't take it and he did. And he didn't pay tax on it. The struggling Waipareira Trust had to sell $115,000 of assets to pay John Tamihere out.

"We now see Helen Clark's Labour Party for what it is. Her Cabinet Ministers can say one thing and then do the complete opposite. That doesn't matter. They can flout tax laws. That doesn't matter.

"Helen Clark has put up taxes for everyone else. Her own Minister doesn't bother to pay any tax. That doesn't matter.

"That's the hypocrisy and crookedness of Helen Clark's government. She promised new standards. We have got new standards alright. Government have never before scraped this low," Mr Hide said.

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