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The National Party lost momentum in the House today during question time when Prime Minister Helen Clark and Finance Minister Michael Cullen turned the tables on leader John Key over his buying and selling of Tranz Rail shares.
As Mr Key rose to ask Miss Clark about the status of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters in her Ministry, the braying from Labour MPs started.
Every time Mr Key asked a supplementary question of Miss Clark, she managed to turn the answer into an attack on the credibility of Mr Key.
"I won't be listening to any lecture on truthfulness from that man," she said.
Instead of being able to embarrass Labour, Mr Key was left floundering. His calls that Miss Clark and Mr Peters were "locked at the hip" and that the Prime Minister was covering up for him missed their target.
Mr Peters then managed to ask questions of Miss Clark that allowed him to look much better than he deserved given the privileges committee had ruled that he had knowingly provided false or misleading information about $100,000 donated by expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn and recommended that Mr Peters be censured.
Dr Cullen said Mr Key must explain why he failed to declare his conflict of interest in regard to Tranz Rail as it was clear from his own words in 2003 that he had to.
"The defence put up by Mr Key is pathetic. At best he is trying to explain the cover up rather than the crime."