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Clark contradicts herself on lame duck Minister

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

12 December 2005

Helen Clark contradicts herself on lame duck Minister

National Party MP Judith Collins wants to know how the Prime Minister is now making claims about the substance of a police report she says she isn't going to read.

"Helen Clark said she wasn't going to bother to read the police report into the David Benson-Pope affair. If that's so, why is it that today she has been discussing the substance of the allegations in her regular Monday morning media chats?

"By now Helen Clark must have had time to read the 10 page police summary, or she is continuing to rely on the advice of her lame duck Minister. In the interests of transparency and honesty, she should tell us which version she is accepting."

Earlier today, Ms Clark said, 'of the 27 people out of a class of 29 interviewed, two to one had no recollection of any such event happening or said flatly it didn't happen'. Ms Collins says it defies belief that the Prime Minister hasn't bothered to do her homework, and it's time Helen Clark admitted she's only maintaining the sham to avoid being dragged further into the sordid affair.

"Having read the summary is she now saying she accepts Mr Benson-Pope's assurances without any question? And if she hasn't read it, how can the public trust a Prime Minister that would rather look the other way?

"With the country facing an economic slow-down we will need a Social Development Minister who's not afraid to face the media when the decisions are being made.

"Mr Benson-Pope clearly isn't that Minister," says Ms Collins.

Mr Benson-Pope has refused all media interviews relating to the police report into historical assault allegations. He even refused an interview with a Sunday newspaper that was preparing to run favourable extracts leaked by him.

"He has exercised the worst judgment when faced with a crisis. Surely the public deserve better representation than that," says Ms Collins.

ENDS

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