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Shipley's shambles, Act's agony

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"Mrs Shipley's half-baked dismissal of John Delamere clearly identifies her as a graduate of the Winz school of personnel management," says Labour deputy leader Michael Cullen.

"Under Mrs Shipley's government you can get the sack and still keep your salary - as long as you're high enough up the food chain.

"It happened to the Winz executive who stayed on the payroll without working. It has happened to Mr Delamere, who keeps his other ministerial portfolios. New Zealanders should be grateful Winston Peters only had one portfolio, otherwise he'd probably still be in Cabinet.

"The hypocrisy of Mrs Shipley's administration is outstanding. National wants to make it easier for employers to sack ordinary working people, but feather-beds the overpaid and under-worked. They are ruthless with those at the bottom of the employment heap and absurdly generous with those at the top.

"Mrs Shipley's only possible reason for wanting to keep Mr Delamere in the money is that she thinks she might need him again after the election. As her Government begins its dying spasms, she is desperate to please anyone who might be useful.

"That is the level National has sunk to. Its last hope for clinging to power hinges on pandering to the party-hoppers and incompetents who have kept it staggering along these past three years.

"Act has also been exposed by the Delamere debacle as a party that talks out of both sides of its mouth. Richard Prebble has been hideously embarrassed by the involvement of Donna Awatere Huata's husband in Mr Delamere's dodgy deal. Act's values are clearly as deep as Mr Delamere's understanding of ministerial integrity.

"Mr Prebble now says he is personally investigating Mrs Huata's relationship to the matter. No doubt he will pursue that with the same impartial rigour he brought to his inquiries into Owen Jennings' connections with a pyramid scheme."

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