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Helen Clark Misses The Point

15 October 1999


Labour leader Helen Clark is missing the point completely when she says United cannot claim to be a centre party if it rules out working with Labour, says United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne.

"Helen Clark says a Party like United should be able to work with either the centre-left or the centre-right."

"That is correct, but she is ignoring the fact that for such an arrangement to be effective, it has to be based on policy compatibility."

"United's commitment to low taxes and keeping the Employment Contracts Act has been clear policy since the Party was formed in 1995 and was reaffirmed in our election manifesto 'The United Advantage' published in February this year."

"Yet both putting up taxes and repealing the Employment Contracts Act are key elements of Labour's election platform."

"Helen Clark ignores that fundamental difference between the two Parties, and expects that she should be able to call on United's support if she feels she needs it, regardless of policy compatibility."

"She seems to be implying United should abjectly surrender its policies to Labour, just to make her Prime Minister."

"Our role is to be the sensible moderator of extremism."

"If Labour drops its commitment to high taxes and repealing the Employment Contracts Act, United would be willing to talk."

"It seems that Helen Clark has just blithely assumed that she could ignore United completely for the last five years, and then deign to call on us if she felt she needed to, without first checking what policy obstacles there might be."

"Labour obviously still has much to learn about how MMP works," Mr Dunne says.

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