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Brash takes Brethren issue to caucus

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader

25 September 2006

Brash takes Brethren issue to caucus

National Party Leader Don Brash is rejecting as 'Labour Party spin' attempts to connect the National Party with the Exclusive Brethren.

"There has never been any association between the church and the National Party. Claims to the contrary are lies from a Labour Government that is desperate to talk about anything but its election overspending."

The National Party Leader says he rejects and condemns any group that would stoop to using private detectives to spy on politicians or their families.

"As I have said many times before, anyone who wants to be part of the political process in New Zealand should play by the rules. In my view the recent revelations about private detectives are a breach of that understanding.

"Tomorrow I plan to tell my caucus colleagues that National wants nothing to do with anybody who tries to influence the political process in an underhand way - and that includes the Exclusive Brethren.

"They crossed the line, and National wants nothing to do with them. I think it's important we make our distaste for this sort of behaviour crystal clear."

However, Dr Brash points out that he does not plan to start banning people from public meetings or events because of their religious or political viewpoint.

"New Zealand has jealously guarded these freedoms as fundamental rights. There's no way I plan to start banning people from our public meetings because of the church they belong to."

Dr Brash says beyond doubt it is the pledge card overspending issue which has been the catalyst for increasingly hysterical claims from Labour. He also points to Winston Peters' promise today to repay any taxpayer money deemed to have been spent unlawfully.

"The public need to consider that all this nonsense surfaced after 81% of the public called on Helen Clark to pay back the money unlawfully overspent on last year's election campaign, and it has come in the aftermath of the Phillip Field saga.

"This is a Government that has lost the plot. Rather than inventing unfounded conspiracy theories, I'm sure the public would prefer Pete Hodgson focussed his attention on a failing health system. Instead he is attempting to drive Helen Clark's agenda of personal attack diversions.

"The public are sick of this garbage. It's time for Labour to get back to the issues," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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