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Minister and NZ Post In Shabby Cover-Up

Murray McCully National MP for Albany

27 February 2001

Minister and NZ Post In Shabby Cover-Up

SOE Minister Mark Burton has been accused of "being party to a shabby cover-up", by National MP Murray McCully.

On Thursday Mr Burton told the House that he had been "informed of the decision the board had taken" in relation to NZ Post's decision to seek a gagging order against ACT Leader Richard Prebble. Yet today he carefully avoided repeating those words, and even more carefully refused to answer my question as to whether the chair, Dr Armstrong and the chief executive Mr Toime had made the decision "behind the backs of the directors". Just what is Mr Burton trying to hide?

"Mr Burton knows that any decision to seek a gagging order against an MP should have been made by the Board. That is why he told the House on Thursday that it had been. It was, in fact, a reasonable assumption for him to make."

But today Mr Burton could only respond that he could not tell the House whether the directors had made the decision because "I am not a member of the Board".

"That simply will not wash. Apart from the fact that he would be guilty of lying to Parliament last Thursday albeit unintentionally, Mr Burton would also have to explain how it is that a politically appointed chairman of an SOE and his chief executive can cook up gagging proceedings against a Member of Parliament who is doing his job by holding that SOE accountable."

"There is something very untidy behind the evasive responses of both the Minister and NZ Post. They are both involved in a shabby cover-up. And we are going to get to the bottom of it".

Ends

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