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Bolger defended

Wednesday 23rd Jun 1999

Richard Prebble

Media Release -- Other

It is a media myth that Jim Bolger endorsed me ahead of the official National candidate in the last election, says ACT Leader and Wellington Central MP Richard Prebble.

"Jim Bolger in his biography strongly denies the allegation and I know that it causes him distress that he would as leader of his party not loyally support his own candidate. He states the facts in his biography. He was asked in a TV interview whether he thought ACT would elect MPs and he answered truthfully that I would win Wellington Central.

"The tracking polls put me well ahead. He made it clear in press statements prior to the election that he had in no way endorsed me but just stated the facts.

"It's just as absurd as a reporter claiming that I am somehow endorsing Jim Anderton if I state that I expect he will win his seat. It's a cheap shot when the media know as Ambassador he can't defend himself.

"The reality was the statement did not assist me - indeed I got an attack of the Bolgers (most politicians who Jim Bolger has shaken by the hand go on to lose ) - and my lead was cut back.

"Incidentally this week's Evening Post poll which re-ignited the myth is far more favourable for me than the first poll last election. This week's poll shows that the Labour candidate Marion Hobbs has less support than Alec Shaw, despite the fact that the boundaries on paper are more favourable for her. Selecting a list MP from Christchurch appears to have backfired. Indeed, the point the paper was making is that my vote plus National's gives me a bigger majority than last election.

"I'm in no way complacent and intend to continue to campaign as if Wellington Central was marginal. I also believe that the voters in Wellington Central, being the country's most intelligent, can work out how to vote.

"The interesting thing in the vote is how well Phillida Bunkle has done, which is not surprising since she is a Wellingtonian. I suspect that in the Bunkle & Hobbs show, Phillida may well prove the stronger candidate."

ENDS

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