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PM descends to pure farce

Labour
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Labour Leader Helen Clark said today that the Prime Minister's supposed campaign to bring transparency to Crown entities is little more than hypocritical cant given her refusal to release details of the payment made to Jean Martin when she resigned from the Fire Service.

"On the one hand, Mrs Shipley is demanding that details of golden handshakes within the state sector be made public - and even bizarrely released details of a non-existent settlement.

"On the other, she refuses to tell New Zealanders what sum the Government paid when Mrs Martin resigned from the Fire Service.

"Instead the Prime Minister suggests that if details of golden handshakes are to be made public, then the salary of every state sector worker should also be revealed. Quite how she reaches that conclusion is beyond me. In fact, it is quite farcical.

"The golden handshakes are the result of breakdowns in relationships between National ministers and their senior advisors. In the case of the New Zealand Tourism Board, the payments were tacitly condoned by Mr McCully. With Roger Estall and Jean Martin, it was to try and rid the Government of a festering political sore.

"There is a legitimate public interest in uncovering what level of taxpayer money this National Government doles out to departing chief executives and directors who fall out with their ministers. There is no link whatsoever between golden handshakes and the salaries of the rank and file within the state sector," Helen Clark said.

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