"The sole parent Helen Clark used to illustrate her campaign opening seems to have been used to perpetuate a cruel hoax
on the people of New Zealand," said Roger Sowry, Minister of Social Services.
Ms Clark's TV ad claimed Catherine Holloway - a sole parent with 7 children - was living in an Auckland emergency
shelter because she couldn't afford rent of $310 per week which had "left $40 to $50 to live on".
"This sounded dreadful, and I was concerned this family was not getting the full entitlement so my staff checked the
figures given in the TV item.
"It simply can't be true. Which leaves two alternatives: either they're not getting everything they should be, or Helen
is lying to New Zealanders.
"It's a fact that no sole parent with 7 kids in her situation should get less than $620 a week in the hand. Therefore
instead of having $40 or $50 left after rent "to live on", she should have $310 left over," Mr Sowry said.
"Helen Clark put these people forward to illustrate her claims, so I'm asking her to provide details of their income so
we can see what's going on here. If there's a genuine problem, I will fix it.
If Ms Clark does not do this within the next 24 hours, I will have to file a formal complaint. Misinformation
constitutes a serious breech of Broadcasting Standards Act, even in electoral programmes.
"We have identified a number of other cases of what appears to be deliberate distortions by the Labour Party, and we are
investigating these at the moment.
"I'm going to get to the bottom of this.
"We will NOT allow Labour to manipulate ordinary people to mislead the voters of New Zealand," Mr Sowry said.