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Greens co-leader should come clean

Greens co-leader should come clean

Deborah Coddington Friday, 19 August 2005 Press Releases - Other

Jeanette Fitzsimons must tell the public why she did not disclose a potential conflict of interest over her investment in wind energy to the Environment Select Committee when Project Aqua was being considered, says ACT MP Deborah Coddington.

"Last week in my Herald on Sunday column I raised this issue because I had debated the Member of Parliament (Pecuniary Interests) Bill a few nights earlier when Parliament adjourned.

This new standing order will force all MPs, not just cabinet ministers, to disclose substantial assets and liabilities. It was pushed by Green co-leader Rod Donald. But I asked in my column why Ms Fitzsimons, as chair of the Environment Select Committee, had not disclosed to select committee her $115,000 shareholding in Windflow Technology Ltd.

"After Project Aqua, a competitive energy source which could have made electricity prices cheaper, was canned, the Greens' website boasted: 'We believe that the Waitaki legislation, which was substantially rewritten by the select committee Jeanette chaired, helped convince Meridian that it would be very hard to get consent..'

"I asked the select committee clerk to check the minutes and she confirmed that Ms Fitzsimons did not mention any possible conflict of interest. This puts Fitzsimons, as chair, in a very compromising position, especially since today's National Business Review clearly shows that after Project Aqua was dumped, shares in Windflow Technology enjoyed a substantial rise in value.

"Ms Fitzsimons can protest as much as she likes that this is simply a smear campaign, but I would ask her to honour her clean and green reputation and answer just one simple question: Why didn't she disclose her shareholding in Windflow Technology Ltd to the select committee when it was making life difficult for another energy company?" Miss Coddington said.

ENDS


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