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Coast Unleashes Fury On Labour

1,000 West Coasters turned out today to voice their fury over Labour's decision to break its promise to honour the West Coast Forest Accord.

ACT Deputy Leader Hon Ken Shirley said 1,000 Coasters rallied outside the West Coast Regional Council offices in Greymouth this afternoon in what he described as an unprecedented protest against the Labour Party.

"Labour's election chances have suffered a massive blow today. Labour's Deputy Leader Michael Cullen was left speechless by the crowd who would not tolerate his attempts to justify Helen Clark turning her back on people of the West Coast.

"Michael Cullen's lame attempt to buy off the coast with a feeble economic package was firmly rejected by West Coasters. They will not be hoodwinked after Labour has so easily turned its back on the contract it signed with the people of the Coast in 1986.

"Labour's package is being treated as a slap in the face by Coasters. The people of the West Coast say it has just added insult to injury.

"Coasters can not believe anything Labour says. If the Party can renege on the promise to honour the accord, it will also walk away from a pie in the sky promise to help the Coast.

"This is not just an issue for the people of the West Coast. It is an issue for all New Zealanders who want political leaders who stand by their promises and commitments. It's clear Helen Clark is not such a leader.

The crowd gave Ken Shirley a warm reception when he reaffirmed ACT's unconditional support for the West Coast Accord and to the Timberlands Beech Scheme.

"ACT is recognised by the people of the West Coast as the only Party who has stuck with them and the contract that they signed up to in good faith. Their anger and condemnation of Labour's actions is totally justified.

"Helen Clark should have faced the crowd herself today instead of sending Michael Cullen to the West Coast. Helen Clark was the one who in 1990 pledged to honour the Accord. The people of the West Coast will not forgive her lack of integrity and honour," said Hon Ken Shirley.

ENDS

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