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Privileges Referral Is Huge Setback To NZ Post

Privileges Referral Is Huge Setback To NZ Post And Kiwibank

Thursday 28 Feb 2002

Before New Zealand Post, no state-owned enterprise or government department has ever been referred to parliament's Privileges Committee for "misleading" a Select Committee, ACT Finance Spokesman MP Rodney Hide said today.

"The Speaker's referral of NZ Post to the Privileges Committee is an awful first for NZ Post.

Last November, the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee asked NZ Post in writing if they had a copy of the South African Government's Kroll Report and whether it could be made available to the Committee.

NZ Post replied in writing, "New Zealand Post does not have a copy of the Kroll Report . . . New Zealand Post does not expect to receive a copy."

"I then produced the Kroll Report along with NZ Post's response prepared back in July. What made it worse, was that NZ Post response describes the document I had produced as the "Kroll Report".

The Speaker today ruled that "there is on the face of it evidence in this case that the information given might be misleading - the company said it did not have a copy of a report when it apparently did have a copy of a draft report."

He said "the fact this answer was given in writing after notice is relevant", and that, "if the answer were misleading it could well be considered to have been deliberate."

"No other SOE or Government department has ever before been referred to the Privileges Committee for "misleading" a Select Committee.

"Being accused of "misleading" a Select Committee is incredibly damaging for NZ Post, especially as it struggles to establish Kiwibank. Banks must rely on their good name and their integrity. It's a bad start to be hauled in front of the Privileges Committee on a charge of having misled a Parliamentary Select Committee.

"NZ Post has lot of explaining to do both in front of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee and the Privileges Committee. They also have a lot of explaining to do for the people of New Zealand if they expect us to trust them with our savings.

"Kiwibank was supposed to "raise standards" in the banking industry. Being sent by Mr Speaker to the Privileges Committee on a charge of misleading Parliament is not a great start," concluded Rodney Hide.


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