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Grovel or else!

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Finance Spokesman

24 May 2006

Grovel or else!

“Companies in the telecommunications and energy industries will have to learn how to grovel to ministers if they want to stay out of trouble,” according to National Party Deputy Finance spokesman Bill English.

Mr English today tabled a letter in Parliament from Vodafone apologising for its role in a court case last year where the Minister was slammed by a High Court judge for breaching confidentiality.

“More recently, Mr Cunliffe’s comments wiped millions off the value of Telecom shares. The earlier court case proves he’s a slow learner.

“The fact that Telecom shares have now bounced back, as Helen Clark points out, is simply not relevant.

“Everyone understands why Vodafone wouldn’t want to put the Minister offside. Clearly they wanted to make sure the Minister wouldn’t hold a grudge, as Labour tends to do on these sorts of matters.

“The last thing Vodafone wants is for the Minister to delay important decisions affecting the telecommunications industry.

“The fact that the letter was dated yesterday, and related to a court case last year speaks volumes.

“What’s also patently clear is that Mr Cunliffe’s actions broke the Cabinet rules established in 2002, after Helen Clark made reckless comments about Air New Zealand shares.

“The rules are clear. David Cunliffe broke them.

“By doing absolutely nothing, Helen Clark is giving this Minister, and others, free reign to destroy the investments of mum and dad shareholders whenever they like.

“Ignorance on this scale is dangerous.”


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