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Did Carter Know About Auckland University Threats?

Did the Minister Know About Threats over Auckland University Land?

Conservation Minister Chris Carter is - at the very least - allowing a ministerial employee to intimidate Auckland University over its plans to sell land at Waikawau Bay, ACT New Zealand Tertiary Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington revealed today.

"Gary Taylor - identified by the media alternately as `founder', `executive director' or `chairman' of the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) - is threatening potential buyers of the University's 149 hectare property that any subdivision plans will face lengthy and expensive opposition via the Resource Management Act. Taylor proudly states that he has 'already warned off one potential buyer who had approached EDS asking what its attitude would be'.

"We know the Conservation Minister also wants to keep the land in public ownership - he says the University's decision to sell the property to make money for educational purposes is "outrageous".

"However, both the Minister and Taylor have forgotten to clue us in about their relationship to each other. What neither the Minister nor Taylor have told us is that Taylor actually works in Parliament as a senior adviser to Ministers on the environment.

"Chris Carter needs to front up and tell the public what safeguards are in place to stop Taylor using information he learns in his parliamentary role when he is crusading in his private capacity. Carter must reveal how the obviously large conflict of interest is resolved. He must also answer the far more serious question: was Taylor acting on the Minister's instructions when he made threats against private citizens thinking of buying Auckland University's land?

"A female staffer in another Labour office got sacked for having a relationship with an MP from a different party. Will Labour's Conservation Minister apply the same rules to a male staffer who has demonstrated a clear conflict of interest? I think we should be told," Miss Coddington said.

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