When can the PM be taken literally?
Labour Leader Helen Clark said today that the Prime Minister should explain the basis on which she claimed that John Hawkesby had received a $1 million payout from Television NZ when no such payment has been made.
Mrs Shipley made the claim last night. Today, in response to a parliamentary question from Helen Clark, Mr Creech, answering on Mrs Shipley's behalf, admitted Mr Hawkesby and TVNZ had yet to finalise a settlement on Mr Hawkesby's terminated contract.
"This incident is, in a word, bizarre. Mrs Shipley seems to have simply made up her claim under pressure when challenged over her government's propensity to hand over large payouts to departing directors of Crown entities. She was in a muddle.
"Mrs Shipley owes an explanation to Mr Hawkesby, TVNZ and the public. She should also apologise to New Zealanders who expect a lot more from their Prime Minister than she delivered in this sorry little episode," Helen Clark said.