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Tuesday, September 2

Clark offers non-answers

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says Helen Clark clearly made a decision today to avoid answering serious questions about why she kept secret the Owen Glenn revelations of a donation to Winston Peters.

"Helen Clark could offer no credible explanation about why she kept Mr Glenn's revelation a secret. All she could say was that both men were 'honourable'.

"That is a total abdication of her responsibilities as Prime Minister. She has clearly failed in her duty to uphold the highest standards of those who are elected to office.

"Helen Clark sat on her hands while Mr Peters gave questionable answers to the public, and she left it up to others to initiate more formal inquiries when she should have done it months ago."

Mr English says Helen Clark did reveal today that she spoke to Mr Peters only once in February, when he denied he had received a donation from Mr Glenn and never spoke to him about it again until the issue flared in July. She also said she hasn't spoken to Mr Glenn about the matter since February.

"Confirmation that she has had only a few conversations with Mr Peters about the issue, directly contradicts her earlier defence that she was 'constantly'* seeking her Foreign Affairs Minister's reassurances about the allegations swirling around him.

"Today, she has also continued with her scurrilous attempts to undermine the credibility of the official inquiries underway, by maintaining a fanciful claim that National was in some kind of cahoots with independent watchdogs like the Serious Fraud Office, the Police, and Crown Law.

"This proves that Helen Clark has no respect for the agencies charged with upholding law and order in this country."

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