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Why won't Government front?

2000 web sitePrime Minister Jenny Shipley should have fronted the announcement that the Fire Service levy was going up, Labour internal affairs spokesperson Trevor Mallard said today.

"Jenny Shipley appointed Fire Service Commissioner Roger Estall, who is responsible for a lot of the mess that the Fire Service is in. After Labour pre-empted this announcement this morning, she should have had the guts to front on this issue," Trevor Mallard said.

"The levy is set by an order in council - it is clearly the Government's responsibility. But they are so busy trying to promote tax cuts that they are trying to distance themselves from what is, in effect, a tax rise.

"So instead of explaining why the levy had to rise, the Prime Minister chose to hide behind the skirts of Margaret Bazley.

"I believe the money is needed to pay extensive legal bills and costs from several Employment and Appeal Court losses the Commission has sustained stemming from the Roger Estall rein of terror.

"The fire service is still in need of leadership from the top. Clearly they will not get that from a National Government.

"Labour is now looking forward to a fresh start where we can start rebuilding public trust and confidence in the fire service," Trevor Mallard said.

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