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Helen Clark gives herself sweeping new powers

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

11 May 2005

Helen Clark gives herself sweeping new powers

National Party Leader Don Brash says Helen Clark appears to have granted herself sweeping new powers to leak confidential information to whomever she likes, whenever she likes, about whatever she likes.

"In response to Parliamentary questions over the Doongate affair, Helen Clark today claimed that it is up to her to decide when she leaks material to the media.

"She is trying to give herself immunity from the conventions of Cabinet collective responsibility, and has signalled that she is prepared to leak confidential information whenever she likes.

"That should be a chilling admission to anyone who disagrees with Helen Clark. It's a dangerous precedent and an affront to democracy," says Dr Brash.

"It is even more dangerous when false information is deliberately seeded, not once but five times, to a newspaper in order to suit Helen Clark's agenda.

Comparisons are being made with her comments yesterday 'by definition I cannot leak', and the statements made by former US President Richard Nixon who said 'when the President does it that means it is not illegal'.

"Helen Clark provided a signed evidential brief to the High Court just a few weeks ago which contradicts the answers she gave to the public and the Parliament last week and this.

"This is not an issue about Peter Doone's dismissal. It is a question about the Prime Minister's honesty, and the fact that she seized the opportunity to deliberately seed inaccurate information to the news media when she had confidential reports in front of her that gave a different story," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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