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Shipley shoots the messenger

Labour
2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark said today that the Prime Minister would be well advised to listen to and respect the views of the Bishop of Christchurch rather than slap him down publicly.

Helen Clark said that National's contemptuous dismissal of any criticism of its performance had become a hallmark of its dying administration.

"The Bishop of Christchurch had stated the obvious with respect to what he has labelled the 'spending spree' of government officials.

"A free market, materialist ethos has been adopted by elements of the public service. While senior officials indulge themselves in luxury resorts, charitable organisations cannot keep up with the demand for food parcels from those turned away from government agencies like Winz.

"In Christchurch this year, the charitable agencies have reported an overall increase in demand for their services of nearly 30 per cent. In the first half of this year, the value of food given out by the Anglican City Mission was higher than that for the whole of 1998.

"The Prime Minister's haughty response to the Bishop's comments is to shoot the messenger. In the cocoon in which she operates, all seems well. No doubt social welfare officials felt the same from the comfort of their recent conference at the lavish Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.

"Needles to say it is this kind of arrogance which is disgusting to many New Zealanders and driving National out of office, " Helen Clark said.

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