Helen Clark bares all about her love for teddies


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The Prime Minister is really just a big softie.

Helen Clark revealed yesterday that she keeps a pile of teddy bears on her bed. Clutching her latest addition, Snowy, under her arm, the nation's normally tough-talking leader confessed to owning "lots of teddies" given to her over the years.

Asked where she kept them, she replied, "On my bed", and said her husband, Professor Peter Davis, cleared them off every night.The Prime Minister shared her bedtime story with the Herald at the 25th annual Teddy Bears' Picnic in the Auckland Domain.

Helen Clark proved a hit with parents and children but the latter seemed most taken with her big white fluffy bear.She was given the bear, which she named Snowy to remind her of places she loved, earlier in the day while at Waitakere celebrating Children's Day.

Snowy represented the fluffy face of a recycling programme under which toys found at dumps are rescued, given a good clean and passed on to new owners.Stillwater sisters Amy and Hayley Dresser were impressed with Snowy. "It's cool. He has a nice sparkly scarf," said 8-year-old Hayley.

Amy, 10, thought it was good Snowy was soft as it would make him nice for the Prime Minister to cuddle. And so she might. Helen Clark said she had a teddy bear as a child that got worn out from cuddling.She praised the "really fun" day at the Domain and happily posed for photos with families. Helen Clark told the Herald she believed there had been a shift in parenting style, which was encouraging.

"There's been a lot more information and support for families on how to work with children which doesn't involve physical discipline." But she said it was still critical to break intergenerational cycles of violence.

《APN Holdings NZ Limited》 Angela Gregory