PM's motorcade in city shunt

By Ainsley Thomson

Prime Minister Helen Clark's motorcade has been involved in another incident, this time on Ponsonby Rd.

Police last night confirmed the accident last December on the corner of Ponsonby and Franklin Rds, which attracts thousands of people to see the Christmas lights.

A VIP protection car carrying officers charged with protecting the Prime Minister rear-ended the Crown car carrying Helen Clark. Her vehicle was rammed into a private car in front.

Act leader Rodney Hide said he had spoken to the passenger in the civilian car who said the driver suffered whiplash and significant damage to the rear of her car.

Mr Hide said the woman's recollection was that the Crown car did not stop after the accident, taking off around a corner before returning a few minutes later.

"They explained [to the women] that they were part of the VIP motorcade and they had to deposit and take care of their VIP," Mr Hide said the woman told him.

Helen Clark's spokesman said she was not injured in the accident and went on to her engagement, but some of the police officers travelling with her remained at the accident scene.

A police spokeswoman said all cars involved in the accident stopped.

"The information I have was that all vehicles stopped and the motorists involved were asked if there were any injuries. There were none and the Crown car continued on from the scene. The VIP protection car remained."

The spokeswoman said the accident was investigated but an outcome had yet to be decided. The accident occurred just days before the Prime Minister's chauffeur had his conviction for speeding in the South Island motorcade case overturned.

Mr Hide said an answer from Helen Clark to a parliamentary question only gave part of the story, not mentioning it was a car from her motorcade which hit the Crown car and that her car shunted a civilian's car.

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