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Nick Smith on the mat again, Nelson Drydock

30 May 2001 Media Statement

Nick Smith on the mat again, over Nelson Drydock

Nick Smith is on the mat again over comments he has made, this time on the Nelson Dry Dock proposals.

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton clarified the process today, "The drydock proposal was submitted for the Regional Partnerships Programme but the proposal was not integrated into a regional plan.

"Specific initiatives are not funded without being integrated into an overall regional strategic plan.

Industry New Zealand which administers and makes the Regional Partnerships Programme decisions has told me that the Nelson Drydock was passed back for integration into such a proposal.

"Nick Smith's allegations that I have in some way cause a "halt" to the proposals are absolutely untrue. Industry New Zealand makes decisions on programmes as a Crown Agency independent of Ministers. In this case Industry NZ wanted the Drydock to be part of an overall plan and according to the papers Nick Smith and I have both read they were not convinced that the governance structure was fully defined yet.

"This might explain why Nick Smith was such an ineffective minister. Perhaps he has forgotten Murray McCully and the Tourism Board fiasco. Possible explanations for his bizarre outburst are that he either wants to mislead the people of Nelson for political gain or because he is unable to understand how Crown Agency processes work. Either way it is not good news for the people of Nelson.

When Nick Smith fails to find one shred of evidence of parochial 'political interference' I expect an open apology. Perhaps, however, Nick Smith is wrong so often that no one would even take an apology from him seriously," said Jim Anderton.


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