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Conflict finally dawns on PM

Roger Sowry National MP

29 September 2000

Conflict finally dawns on PM

A conflict of interest between a Minister's office and a PR agency exposed by National more than a month ago and dismissed by the Government has finally been taken seriously by the Prime Minister, National MP Roger Sowry said today.

"The Government's response when National first raised this issue was a Cullen wisecrack dismissing our concerns.

"It seems it has finally dawned on the Prime Minister that there is a clear conflict of interest within her own Government and she has stepped in to sort it out. It is not acceptable for Press Secretaries to be doing two jobs when there is a clear conflict of interest.

"The PM needs to do more than talk tough. She must issue one of her edicts and say it's one job or the other if this Government is going to live up to its promise of new standards in the public service.

"Lianne Dalziel's Press Secretary Glen Inwood only works four days a week in the Minister's office and spends the other day as a public relations consultant.

"It was revealed in Parliament that Mr Inwood has been doing PR work for the Fisheries Commission. He was to be a media expert on a panel at the World Council of Whalers conference in Nelson in November.

"We know that the Fisheries Commission is hosting the conference so it just doesn't wash that Mr Inwood was only on the panel and not doing anything else associated with the conference.

"It took a month for the penny to drop in the Beehive but now the PM has decided that it is inappropriate for a Government press secretary to be associated with a pro-whaling conference," Mr Sowry said.

Ends

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