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Gerry in The House - 6 May 2005

Gerry in The House - 6 May 2005

Consider this...

Remember Lianne Dalziel? She was the Minister of Immigration, up until the time she was caught lying to the media. Actually I bet she's pleased not to be the Minister of Immigration now - given the extraordinary number of Saddam Hussein supporters who've recently slipped undetected into New Zealand.

Ms Dalziel's offence was terminal as far as the Prime Minister was concerned. But in the past two weeks, questions have been raised about the Prime Minister's involvement with the media stories in the lead up to the dismissal of the former Police Commissioner, Peter Doone, in January 2000.

On the face of it, the Prime Minister appears to have led the Sunday Star-Times to believe that the defamatory statements they were about to publish were true.

Only the Prime Minister can clear this up.

On Wednesday in the House I made such a challenge to her, and that brief speech follows...

That was the most encouraging speech I have heard from the Labour Government in a long time. It is encouraging for National's aspirations and prospects because - let's be clear - the golden rule in politics is that one never attacks anything that one is not worried about. So that rowdy attack from the angry man of the Labour Government, Phil Goff, is an admission that Labour is on the back foot, disconnected from ordinary New Zealand, and likely to take a pounding in the coming election.

It is inappropriate in this House to refer to another member as being dishonest, being a liar, or being a hypocrite, so I will not do any of those things. But I will ask that people consider the record of the Prime Minister, Helen Clark.

I want to talk about some things that are factual. I want people to make up their own minds about how they interpret those things. The first thing is the issue with regards to a Mr Yelash. Do people remember the situation with Mr Yelash? He was defamed by the Prime Minister, and the taxpayer coughed up $56,000 to cover her.

Then there was the case of the Auckland surgeon who was defamed. The Prime Minister had to apologise publicly for that defamation.

Then there was the 'Corngate' scandal, in which the Prime Minister initially denied that she had been part of a cover-up - part of a process to make that GE crop release legal - and she was finally caught.

We had the Historic Places Trust payout, when the Prime Minister decided that rather than telling the public exactly what the payout was, she would confuse the figure with a whole lot of others. She was eventually caught out.

Then we had the 'Paintergate' scandal. Do members remember that? The Prime Minister initially said she had no recollection - she could not remember - but ultimately she had to confess to signing at least six other paintings and having a friend buy the offending painting, before her office burned it on her behalf to destroy the evidence.

More recently, we have had the issue of the speeding motorcade charging across the Canterbury Plains at 140 kilometres an hour. She had no recollection of how that happened. She did not know it was happening. She did not see that the police were stopping people in the small towns of Canterbury as she flashed by. She had no recollection and took no responsibility. Now five policemen and one civilian are in the courts.

The issue is that no responsibility has been taken. The interesting thing is this pattern of saying: "I don't remember; I have no recollection; it was not me," - has all the hallmarks of Homer Simpson. He'd say: "I was not there; it was not me; it did not happen." This is consistent with the way the Prime Minister has behaved from the day she became Leader of this country.

We have seen in recent days the most disgraceful obfuscation of answers around questions relating to her involvement in the constructive dismissal of then Commissioner of Police Peter Doone back in 2000.

I do not want to go into matters relating to the Commissioner's behaviour. That is not for me to do. What I do want to talk about is the extraordinary decision by the Prime Minister to tell a newspaper that it was on the right track - that what it wanted to publish as having been said by the Commissioner on that particular night at that particular event was not wrong, even though she had on her desk two reports that made it clear that the information was not correct.

Her coming into to the House and simply saying she had no recollection, could not remember, was sure she would not have, etc, is simply part of a pattern that has marked her style since becoming Prime Minister.

I think that the Prime Minister owes New Zealanders the truth in this circumstance. It would be so easy for her to make this go away by releasing the brief of evidence that she provided to the court in the case of Doone v Sunday Star-Times. She could do that quite simply, perhaps by tabling it in Parliament or releasing it to one of her favourite journalists in order that her good name might be protected. One has to ask, what is the reason for the hesitance she clearly has about doing so?

The idea that it could be because more litigation is coming is nonsense, because if there is nothing wrong there is no basis for litigation. I want the Prime Minister to accept her responsibility and to tell the truth to New Zealanders.

Just when you thought it was safe

If you thought you'd seen the last tax rise before the election - you were sadly mistaken. This week saw the announcement of the carbon tax.

The price has been set for 2007 at $15 a tonne, which is all well and good until you scratch the surface and see that, internationally, carbon credits are being traded at up to $30 a tonne. The Labour Government has all but admitted the price in 2007 might rise to as much as $25 a tonne. No one can guess what the price is going to do in two years.

The effect on the average household budget will be noticeable. Yet another rise in the price of petrol - four cents a litre this time, and 10% on the price of electricity. This will mean an overall increase in the price of everything when businesses try to cover their increased costs.

National will repeal the unnecessary carbon tax. And we will withdraw from Kyoto in 2013 if our major trading partners, like the US, Australia and China have still not signed.

Ask yourself these questions. Why should consumers in New Zealand be walloped with an extra carbon tax, when Australians burning our coal in their furnaces won't? Why should Kiwi motorists pay a premium, when the motorists in India and China do not?

This is an unnecessary, blatant tax grab from Labour. Only National can be trusted to deliver lower taxes for working New Zealanders.


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