No trust in PM's motorcade claim

By Jonathan Milne

New Zealanders have roundly rubbished Helen Clark's claim she had no idea how fast her motorcade was travelling, according to a new poll.

Today's Herald on Sunday-DigiPoll shows 70 per cent of respondents do not believe her claim to have been unaware of her cars' excessive speed on the journey from Waimate to Christchurch last year.

Timaru District Court judge John Strettell is to rule this week on the fate of five policemen and a civilian driver charged with dangerous driving.

The court has heard that given the choice of two flights from Christchurch to Wellington - to catch a Bledisloe Cup test - Helen Clark's press secretary checked with her before choosing the earlier one. She is refusing to comment while the case is before the courts.

The poll of 1000 people shows only 21 per cent of respondents believed Helen Clark.

Constable Simon Vincent, driving the Ford Explorer at the head of the motorcade at up to 180km/h, testified that he saw Helen Clark leaning forward, appearing to enjoy the ride.

Senior Constable David Reid, a Diplomatic Protection Squad instructor on motorcades, testified that the Prime Minister's protection staff were frequently put under pressure to break the law to ensure she got to appointments on time.

He personally had ignored a recent memo against speeding at least once to ensure she arrived on time.



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