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PM Attempts To Distance Herself From Tamihere: ACT

PM Attempts To Distance Herself From Tamihere

ACT New Zealand Leader Rodney Hide today said that Prime Minister Helen Clark has known for a long time that things were amiss with the Waipareira Trust and John Tamihere.

"She chose to turn a blind eye for political reasons," Mr Hide said.

"Helen Clark knew in 1995 that Mr Tamihere had pled guilty to two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering before she intervened to get him selected as a candidate.

"She knew there were problems with the Trust under Mr Tamihere's management back in 2000. She chose to ignore them. She had an inquiry run by her own department that was designed not to find anything amiss.

"Today we learn that Helen Clark has known for some months that there may have been `tax problems' at the Trust.

"She chose simply to accept her Minister's assurances that there were no problems. She chose not to inquire any further.

"In fact, John Tamihere had taken the $195,000 golden handshake he said he wouldn't and failed to pay tax on it.

"Now she knows it's all coming out, Helen Clark is calculatedly setting Tamihere up for a dismissal that makes her look totally clean. It won't wash. Helen Clark has to accept responsibility for failing to act when she first knew there were problems," Mr Hide said.

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