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National and NZ First affront to the South Island

Sun Nov 14 1999

The refusal of National leader Jenny Shipley and NZ First leader Winston Peters to participate in a Christchurch leaders' debate organised by The Press is a slight on the entire South Island, Alliance leader Jim Anderton said.

He is accusing National and NZ First of being too chicken to debate at a meeting open to the general public, and asking other leaders to go ahead with their own debate.

The debate was organised before the campaign began to take place this Wednesday night. It was to be the only leaders' debate held in the South Island and the only debate open to the general public, and was cancelled by the Press after the two refused to participate.

'As politicians who owe their positions to the public, Jenny Shipley and Winston Peters should be prepared to front up before the people they are asking to elect them.

'The televised leaders' debates have all been held in the North Island because that's where the TV stations are located, and the general public has not been able to obtain tickets to any of them. There is a role for those debates, but there is also an obligation to front up to an audience where anyone can attend.

'It is even more important for South Islanders to see the leaders debate the issues of highest importance to us.

'I will be asking Helen Clark and Richard Prebble to come to Christchurch on Wednesday night anyway, so that we can debate the issues in an open forum in the way that South Islanders want,' Jim Anderton said.

Visit http://www.alliance.org.nz for more information about the Alliance


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