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Clark endorses reckless Minister

Hon. Bill English MP National Party Deputy Finance Spokesman

22 May 2006

Clark endorses reckless Minister

National Party Deputy Finance spokesman Bill English says Helen Clark's defence of David Cunliffe amounts to an "endorsement of his reckless behaviour."

"It doesn't matter whether it was sinister or not, it's still stupid," says Mr English.

Helen Clark has said today she does not expect to be taking Mr Cunliffe to task for ill-advised comments that saw $200 million wiped off Telecom shares held by "mum and dad" investors.

"The jury's out on whether he had inside information, but as the Minister who can make decisions which could affect the share price, he simply should not be sounding off.

"Helen Clark doesn't know the realities of the market. Investors will see any comment from David Cunliffe as a signal of the Government's future intentions for Telecom.

"Helen Clark's claim that there is no difference between Mr Cunliffe's comments and those made by market commentators is ridiculous. As the Government gets more hands-on with business this level of ignorance is dangerous."

Mr English says it's likely Mr Cunliffe's comments would have fallen foul of upcoming changes to the laws around insider trading

"If these rules were in place, Mr Cunliffe would be skating on very thin ice indeed.

"If the Prime Minister won't take it seriously, Mr Cunliffe should.

"For the sake of his own credibility, he should look to the standard set by David Parker, and stand down while the Securities Commission investigation continues," says Mr English.

ENDS

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