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Brownlee lays privilege complaint against Tamihere

National Party Deputy Leader

27 May 2004

Brownlee lays privileges complaint against Tamihere

While the Prime Minister may be prepared to accept the deliberate misleading of the Parliament, Parliament itself must not be treated in this manner, says Gerry Brownlee, National's Deputy Leader.

Mr Brownlee has laid a formal complaint of breach of privilege against the Minister of Land Information, John Tamihere.

"Mr Tamihere deliberately and repeatedly mislead the House in answers to oral questions relating to the ownership of the foreshore and seabed," says Mr Brownlee.

Mr Tamihere told the House, in response to a supplementary question to oral question number 4 on 6 August 2003, that he stood by his previous statement that 'significant chunks' of the foreshore were privately owned.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show that Mr Tamihere had received official advice from his Department prior to giving this answer. His statement that "significant chunks of the foreshore" was under private title was in clear and direct contradiction to the advice received.

"The Minister has repeatedly asserted this statement, claiming that it was made on the basis of preliminary work carried out by the department.

"Given his repeated statements and the clear advice received, it is not possible that this was an inadvertent slip-up but at no stage has he sought to set the record straight.

"The foreshore and seabed issue is one of the most important and controversial to come before this Parliament. The Minister of Land Information controls the important information that Parliament receives and needs to make good decisions on behalf of New Zealanders," says Mr Brownlee.

"Helen Clark might be willing to rewrite the conventions of Parliament to suit her Ministers but we will not allow the deliberate and continual misleading of the House".


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