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Founder Of Shakti Rejects Unfounded Allegations

Media Statement on behalf of Farida Sultana and Shakti Community Council Inc
5 March 2003

Founder Of Shakti Rejects Unfounded Allegations

Farida Sultana, the founder of the Shakti Community Council, a human rights advocacy group for ethnic women, is appalled at the baseless allegations being levelled against her. She wishes to make it very clear that at no time has she said that her group was the conduit for the guinea pig letter. Quite the opposite, a statement released on Friday 27 February 2004 quite clearly stated that the organisation was not responsible.

Allegations have also been made about Ms Sultana's relationship with the Labour Party. These are largely inaccurate and are clearly politically driven with little or no regard for the individual or the organisation at which they are directed. Ms Sultana was employed part-time over the period from March – September 2003 by Parliamentary Services as an ethnic relations co-ordinator providing out of office support to Ashraf Choudhary (Labour List Member of Parliament). For the 20 hours per week that she was employed in that position, Ms Sultana worked from the Mt Albert Electorate Office working with the ethnic community at a community group level. This was a role she felt was entirely consistent with her concern that ethnic groups be provided with support in their adopted home, New Zealand.

Despite Ms Collins' allegations, Ms Sultana has never been employed by the Labour Party nor has she been a list candidate for them.

The work of Shakti and Ms Sultana will continue in the face of these unprovoked attacks. Ms Sultana is deeply grateful for the enormous support she has received from the members of Shakti since Ms Collins' campaign started.

ENDS

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