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Ministers fail to front up at select committee

David Carter National Finance Spokesperson

6 June 2002

Ministers fail to front up at select committee

"The Government has abused parliamentary process by allowing its Ministers to refuse to front up to the Finance and Expenditure select committee and account for their spending," says National's Finance spokesman David Carter.

Mr Carter says the Supplementary Estimates were due to be examined by the Finance and Expenditure select committee, but a report tabled in Parliament today shows that no examinations of Ministers' spending was able to be carried out.

"The previous week, the committee unanimously agreed to call Ministers Cullen, King, Burton, Horomia - but they all thumbed their noses at the committee and refused to front.

"To make matters worse, they also refused to allow any Associate Ministers or any of their officials to come and explain the spending decisions contained in the supplementary estimates."

Mr Carter says this is the most significant abuse of process he has seen during his time in Parliament.

"Opposition members of this select committee were presented with a truncated timeframe to carry out a proper examination of the supplementary estimates. We tried to extend this, but were voted down by the majority Government members on the committee."

The National Party minority report strongly criticises the Government's gross abuse of process in regard to the supplementary estimates.

"This shows a Government that is either too afraid to justify its spending decisions. Or one that is arrogantly contemptuous of accepted Parliamentary process," Mr Carter concluded.


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