Labour MP Pete Hodgson said today that the Prime Minister was doing a splendid job of emulating her predecessor’s
hermetically-sealed election campaign in 1996.
“This morning Mrs Shipley’s staff have informed Radio Pacific that the Prime Minister was refusing to participate in an
hour-long debate with Helen Clark on Jenny Anderson’s show.
“A pattern of evasiveness, bordering on cowardice, is beginning to emerge in Mrs Shipley’s behaviour. She has also
chickened out of public debates proposed by her home province newspaper, the Christchurch Press, and the Otago Daily
“Perhaps rattled by her abysmal performance in the first of the televised leaders’ debates on Wednesday night, Mrs
Shipley has now told radio Pacific that she is unavailable.
“This strange behaviour from Mrs Shipley, who was supposedly elevated to leadership of her party because of her reputed
qualities of boldness and leadership, is inexcusable.
“New Zealanders want to hear Helen Clark and Jenny Shipley debate the issues that matter – like the future of public
services and what can be done to lift our economy out of its sluggish state.
“Helen Clark is ready and willing to debate Jenny Shipley one-on-one, in any format. This makes a stark contrast with
Mrs Shipley’s recurrent ‘unavailability’,” Pete Hodgson said.
Contact: Pete Hodgson, 025 340 668