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Mrs Shipley avoids issue, plays the man

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark said the Prime Minister's attack in Parliament today on a highly respected housing advocate was a dismal attempt to dodge questions about her government's failed housing policies.

"It is typical of Mrs Shipley to attack the messenger when she is unable to deal with well-founded criticism of her government's policies.

"During question time today she tried to wriggle out of responding to a statement by Major Campbell Roberts, of the Salvation Army, that the Government's housing experiment has been 'disastrous', on the basis that the statement was not 'official' Salvation Army policy.

"Major Roberts, a divisional commander of the Salvation Army in the South Island, is a respected expert on public housing issues. As a former director of the Salvation Army's nationwide social programmes, he knows what he is talking about when he gives an assessment of housing programmes.

"Major Roberts has had long involvement in housing homeless people and Mrs Shipley should not readily dismiss his views as she did in the House today.

"Instead she should be explaining why National's bungled, market-led approach to state housing has imposed massive costs on the poorest New Zealanders, run down state housing stock and failed to maintain an adequate supply of quality houses," Helen Clark said.

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