The bitter war of words between Prime Minister Helen Clark and John Key intensified today after Clark claimed the National Party leader was involved in a recent series of nationwide attacks against sheep and other livestock.
Addressing a Council of Trade Unions meeting in South Auckland today Clark showed a presentation containing depicting dozens of mutilated sheep and lambs. Most of the dead animals were killed on sheep stations in the Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay regions, although some were killed as far south as Otago. Clark claims she has proof that the National leader is responsible for the attacks.
‘If John Key will inflict these atrocities on defenseless lambs imagine what he will do to the New Zealand economy,’ the Prime Minister warned the 200 person strong crowd who responded well to Mrs Clark’s comments, booing whenever a digitally altered photograph showing Mr Key with large, sharpened canine teeth dripping with blood appeared on the screen. The booing was accompanied by the chant: ‘Killer of sheep! Killer of sheep!’
Mrs Clark estimated that if Key is elected Prime Minister as many as five hundred thousand sheep per month could be killed in National Party attacks on livestock. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister later admitted that this was only a rough calculation and that the real number was closer to four million.
Although farmers affected by the recent attacks insist the perpetrators are stray dogs local to the area, the Labour Party have produced an eye-witness to the attacks who personally saw Mr Key and his fellow National Party MP Judith Collins savaging livestock on a high country sheep station over a period of several nights in late August and early September.
Michael Williams, a former IT analyst living in Auckland confirmed that he saw the National MP’s mutilating spring lambs late at night on the Walter Peak station. Key and Collins are also alleged to have dug up rosebushes in the garden of a residential house on the station, as well as spraying in a number of locations on the property.
‘I was shocked by what I saw,’ Williams said in a statement released to the media. ‘I’m just an everyday bloke and I don’t know much about politics and elections but this is not the way Members of Parliament should behave.’
Mr Williams dismissed allegations that he was not an impartial witness due to his role as President of the New Zealand Labour Party.
‘This is the time to put party politics aside and focus on John Key’s long record of sheep worrying,’ Williams said. ‘We cannot let this killer of sheep become Prime Minister.’
‘I saw what I saw,’ Williams added. ‘You have my word.’
Reaction from the National Party has been confused, with MP Judith Collins admitting that she had been involved in sheep worrying incidents with Mr Key but denying that it was an election issue.
‘How John and I spend our spare time is our business,’ Collins said. ‘This is another disgusting effort by the Labour Party to distract voters from the real issues’
Mrs Collins later retracted her statements, claiming that she had confused the recent sheep attacks with another event. Collins denies that Key or herself was responsible for the attacks.
Mr Key, off campaigning someplace, was not available for comment.