Collins refutes PM's claims over walk-out
National Party MP
08 May 2006
Collins refutes PM’s claims over walk-out
National Party MP Judith Collins has refuted claims by Prime Minister Helen Clark’s that she was rude during a haka at the Manurewa CYF facility.
“The haka was conducted as social services select committee chair Georgina Beyer and I led the committee into the building,” says Ms Collins.
“I did not walk through a haka, and I was not rude in any way. Helen Clark has been lied to and she’s now repeating the lie.
“I will be writing to the Prime Minister today seeking an apology for the false comments she has made this morning to Newstalk ZB about the behaviour of myself and my colleagues.
“The issue for the kaumatua who insulted us was that two women had dared to sit in the front row. He told us so when he spoke at the powhiri.
“He told us he was trying to show the young people their culture, and here we were breaking that cultural protocol by sitting in the front row.
“Helen Clark may say that it is departmental policy that women are allowed to sit in the front row during such ceremonies, but the message clearly hasn’t got through.
“Anne Tolley and I sat in the front row and were silent. We only left after being insulted. We asked Georgina Beyer if she was going to do anything about it as chairwoman of the committee, and she said ‘no’.
“It’s shocking that she, of all people, should have nothing to say about women being treated this way.”
Ms Beyer admitted on Morning Report today that she agreed to the kaumatua’s request to have a powhiri – without telling the other members of the select committee.
“Ms Beyer also confirmed that she even told the kaumatua that some female members of the committee would refuse to sit at the back,” says Ms Collins.
“That she then failed to consult with the committee shows an incredible lack of leadership. We were set up by Georgina Beyer. She has absolutely no grounds to attack the actions of myself or my colleagues.”