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Clark must come clean on plans

Bill English MP National Party Deputy Leader

26 September 2008

Clark must come clean on plans

Helen Clark must come clean on what her plans are for the next three years, says National Party Deputy Leader Bill English.

In a revealing radio interview, Helen Clark was asked several times whether she would commit to remaining as Prime Minister for the full three year term. She refused to answer the question (transcript below).

"Helen Clark will only commit to leading Labour 'into' a fourth term. She will offer no assurances about what happens after that.

"The public can only conclude that if Helen Clark wins the election, New Zealand will have a different Prime Minister by the end of a three year term.

"Helen Clark should tell New Zealanders whether they are being asked to vote for her so she can retire."

Asked for a categorical assurance of going the full three years, Helen Clark said that she had no retirement 'plans', but that 'things can change'.

"That answer frankly is not good enough. New Zealanders must have certainty about the country's leadership in these more challenging times.

"The public deserves to know what they're getting if they vote Labour. Helen Clark should lay out the succession plan."

Transcript from RadioLive Drive, September 12

PRESENTER: If you win the ah, this election, if you, if Labour wins this election, will you stick around for a full three-year term.

CLARK: Well someone asked that at the press conference today too and I said I have no retirement plans. Here I am, a fit and healthy woman still our doing the back country skiing and enjoying life.

PRESENTER: But no retirement plans isn't the same as a categorical assurance that people might need, Labour voters might need or voters might need to vote for Labour this election knowing that you will remain for a full three-year term...

CLARK: Well ah...

PRESENTER: ...can you give that categorical assurance.

CLARK: Well ah, I'm going into it obviously saying I'm looking to lead Labour for a fourth term and...

PRESENTER: Full fourth term.

CLARK: Well I'm looking to lead for a fourth term ah, and that's as much as I can say. I mean I've got good health and good energy at the moment. Who knows ah, things can change on you but right now I'm looking for the fourth term.

PRESENTER: It's not quite categorical. It's a dead...

CLARK: Well...

PRESENTER: I'm looking for an assurance that, that if Labour win a thir [sic] a fourth term, that you would be there for the full three years or as long as Labour stayed in power

CLARK: Well I'm not announcing my intentions for the election of 2011 Bill. That would be silly.

PRESENTER: I know.

CLARK: I'm announcing that I'm on for leading Labour into a fourth term. I have no, underline, no retirement plans.

PRESENTER: And leading Labour out of a fourth term

CLARK: Oh well ah, leading Labour to a fifth term. I haven't made the decision whether I'll lead Labour for a fifth term but what I'm saying is there's an election in eight weeks' time, and you've all got lots of notice, and ah, we'll debate the shape of the policies of the fourth term Labour-led government.

ENDS

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