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Nat caucus shares Labour's disquiet over campaign

Hon Steve Maharey

21 September 2005 Media Statement

National caucus shares Labour's disquiet over campaign conduct


Labour's disquiet about the nature of National's election campaign was confirmed today by rumblings in the National party caucus, Steve Maharey said.

"It seems the National caucus is concerned by the secrecy within the campaign and the extraordinary power wielded by a small group of individuals," Steve Maharey said.

"We have never witnessed a campaign that was so clearly about the agenda of a few people rather than the broader interests of New Zealand, as evidenced by National's complete lack of policy and its backing from well-off but very marginal right-wing groups.

"It is becoming clear that National's campaign was run by a small cell of individuals within the party, linked to big money both in New Zealand and overseas. This is causing disquiet among National MPs.

"We understand that a number of MPs were deeply embarrassed by the failure of the National leadership to clearly distance the Party from the extreme views of the exclusive Brethren sect.

"Can the National Party in its current form really say they are a major party that wants to stand up for this country?"

Steve Maharey said a number of National's more moderate MPs were now seeking to distance themselves from the leader and reduce the influence of his inner circle. This includes moderate Simon Power, who revealed he no longer wanted the chief whip's job.

"This is a telling move by Power. The party whip position means you can't criticise the leadership, even internally. It is clear he now wants a freer hand in the internal debate.

"The National Party do need to front up and say where their money came from and who they represent. There was too much secrecy around the activities of their campaign and we are left with too many unanswered questions."

ENDS

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