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Clark takes cavalier approach to Benson-Pope

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

13 December 2005

Clark takes cavalier approach to Benson-Pope

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins is sceptical about David Benson-Pope's claim in Parliament that he has had no contact with the Prime Minister's office over the handling of a police report into historic assault allegations.

"Is the Minister trying to tell us that the boss has never been in touch and the issue has never been discussed either before or after the release of this damning report? Give us a break.

"Helen Clark is the most controlling Prime Minister that New Zealand has ever had and Mr Benson Pope is telling us she simply hasn't bothered to speak to him about this.

"Either Mr Benson-Pope's memory has failed him, or Helen Clark has treated this whole affair with cavalier disregard. These are serious matters that should be taken seriously.

"If she hasn't spoken to him, she should. His actions have brought Parliament and her Government into disrepute. Mr Benson-Pope should be sacked."

Meanwhile, Mr Benson-Pope also confirmed today that he not only authorised his staff to release edited highlights of the police report, but he also instructed them to say he had no comment.

"That's blatant deception. The leak was his comment and he knows it.

"Most fair-minded New Zealanders will understand how dishonest this behaviour is.

"Mr Benson-Pope wanted the public to believe that the police report put him in the clear, yet he did not want the public to know it was actually him all along who authorised the distribution of a one-sided story.

"On one hand he was telling the public and the media that this was a report for the police to release, and on the other he was secretly trying to erode the credibility of witnesses.

"No other New Zealander would escape such deception so lightly," says Ms Collins.

ENDS

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