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Please explain, Dr Brash

Hon Pete Hodgson
Labour Party strategist

5 May 2006 Media Statement

Please explain, Dr Brash

Labour is calling on National leader Don Brash to explain his meetings last year with the Exclusive Brethren following an admission that the Brethren wanted to brief the National leader on their smear campaign.

A police investigation – made public by National – shows that the Exclusive Brethren attempted to include Don Brash’s photo and an endorsement in its $1.2 million smear advertising against Labour and the Greens during last year’s election.

On Thursday, Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee admitted that: ‘The Brethren had at various times attempted to show Dr Brash bits and pieces but there was no formal connection between us.’

Labour MP Pete Hodgson said that Don Brash must explain his deputy’s comments.

“We now have the admission that the Exclusive Brethren wanted to discuss their advertising with National. Last year, Don Brash admitted to having up to four meetings with the shadowy Exclusive Brethren.

“It is inconceivable that in the course of those four meetings - formal or informal - the Exclusive Brethren’s million dollar smear campaign was not discussed in some detail.

“Otherwise, why would Don Brash meet them four times in the middle of a frantic election campaign? That is too bizarre even for this very strange episode.

“Don Brash must now front up to media and explain what Gerry Brownlee meant by his comments. What did he mean by ‘no formal’ connection’?

“National’s public comments on its dealings with the Exclusive Brethren have been characterised by evasion and prevarication, and denial and half-truths. Now is the time for some truth.”

ENDS

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