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Brash buckles under pressure - again

Brash buckles under pressure - again

Don Brash’s cynical and desperate u-turn on petrol tax is just the latest flip-flop he has executed in this election campaign, Labour MP Pete Hodgson said today.

Mr Hodgson has released Dr Brash’s top six flip-flops from the election campaign.

“On a whole range of positions Dr Brash has shown he lacks the leadership and credibility to be Prime Minister. In just a few short weeks he has changed his stance a number of times on both policy issues and those which touch on his integrity,” Mr Hodgson said.

“On petrol, in late August Dr Brash said that National would not change the petrol excise, but yesterday, as the impact of his changing story on the Exclusive Brethren was hitting home, he flip-flopped with a cynical temporary change.

“There is even a flip-flop within a flip flop here, as the true cost of the National policy has changed within 24 hours from $100 million (Dr Brash’s press statement, 12 September) to ‘twenty to thirty million dollars’ (John Key on Morning Report, 13 September).

“ Last week it was the Exclusive Brethren pamphlet campaign, where from Tuesday to Thursday Don Brash flipped 180 degrees, being forced to admit that he did have knowledge of the campaign. This represented a serious loss of credibility, and marked Dr Brash out as someone not ready to be Prime Minister.

“The National leader also did an about-turn on who would be eligible for health subsidies. Within a week a whole group of modest income New Zealanders both were, and were not, eligible for subsidies for doctors’ visits.

“On the question of the Eastern Highway in Auckland, National has had two positions in this campaign. On 5 September Dr Brash said he would not “foist the eastern highway on Aucklanders”, which contradicted Maurice Williamson, who has said the highway will be completed. In May, Dr Brash also backed the highway project.

“On forestry, as soon as the pressure came on, Dr Brash decided that National’s policy to restart the logging of native timer on the West Coast would change. The shambles of three policies in one day was an indictment on National’s lack of leadership.

“ Dr Brash flip flops on the issue of New Zealand remaining nuclear free are now the stuff of legend. In this campaign he has said several positions on whether or not National would put forward a referendum to change our nuclear policy. This of course follows on from the famous ‘gone by lunchtime’ comment to Amercian senators.

“These of course are only the flip flops of this campaign. They come on top of earlier efforts, including whether Kiwibank should be sold, and a change of heart on National’s opposition to four weeks leave.

“It is clear that have as Prime Minister he would buckle as soon as the pressure came on. If a few bad polls can create a flip flop, just imagine what he would be like if the call came to send combat troops to Iraq?”

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