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Cunliffe fails to learn from past mistakes

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader
23 May 2006

Cunliffe fails to learn from past mistakes

National Party Leader Don Brash says David Cunliffe’s latest gaffe over Telecom shows he’s failed to learn from past mistakes after being told off by a judge last year over his handling of sensitive information.

“Last week the Communications Minister wiped $200 million off Telecom shares held by mum and dad investors with naïve and ill-timed comments on its dividend policy.

“Helen Clark said yesterday she wouldn’t be taking Mr Cunliffe to task following the Securities Commission’s decision to investigate.

“But the High Court judgment, which publicly raked Mr Cunliffe over the coals last October, underlines his cavalier approach to handling sensitive information,” says Dr Brash.

In the October 2005 decision, Justice Young found that Mr Cunliffe gave the Commerce Commission commercially sensitive information on Vodafone mobile call termination rates, despite the company providing the information to the Minister on condition of confidentiality.

The judgment said: ‘Their concern is that the Minister, in giving confidential information to the Commerce Commission, breached what they say is their right to confidentiality with regard to the information. I agree with Vodafone’s submission.’

“Mr Cunliffe got told off by a High Court judge last October, but his latest gaffe over Telecom shows he hasn’t learnt any lessons,” says Dr Brash.

“The Minister is like a bull in a china shop. He is clearly unfit for the job and Helen Clark needs to replace him.

“At the very least, Helen Clark needs to stand him down while the Securities Commission investigates. There’s little chance of that, though, because Helen Clark effectively endorses his reckless behaviour by her failure to act.”


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