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ACT leader shocked by personal attack

Friday 9th Jul 1999

Richard Prebble

Media Release -- Economy

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today that he was shocked by Sir William Birch's very personal attack on ACT MP Rodney Hide.

"Sir William has claimed that Rodney Hide's allegations against the IRD lack credibility, but gives no basis for his attack," Mr Prebble said.

"In my time in Parliament I don't know of a new member of Parliament who has established such a strong reputation for being right about his facts as Rodney Hide. Last year when Rodney Hide told Parliament that there were IRD officers selling confidential information, it came as a revelation to the Minister.

"As two officers have now been found guilty in court how can Sir William say that damages Rodney Hide's credibility? He was doing his duty as an MP publicly exposing corruption.

"Rodney Hide has over the last two years raised a number of issues regarding the management, culture and operating procedures of the IRD. It would be fair to say the majority of MPs did not want to believe that these allegations, which include driving taxpayers to suicide, could possibly be true.

"The situation now is that the majority of Members of Parliament from both sides of the House accept that there is substance in Mr Hide's claims. Most MPs now agree that Rodney Hide was right to call for an enquiry and MPs agree there is a need for reforms in our tax laws.

"It's now not possible for the Government to dismiss Mr Hides campaign by launching a personality attack on him. Indeed, the majority of MPs are expecting the select committee to recommend some substantive reforms and we will be insisting the Government address them," Mr Prebble said.

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