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Labour abuses OIA to stop tax review questions

John Key MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

7 September 2006

Labour Govt abuses OIA to stop tax review questions

The Government is hiding the behind-the-scenes goings-on around its much-vaunted business tax review, says National Finance spokesman John Key.

"Revenue Minister Peter Dunne has refused my Official Information Act request for all documents held by Treasury and Inland Revenue relating to the business tax review.

"He has refused to reveal a single word of the documents. He won't even reveal the terms of reference for the review.

"Does this mean he's hiding papers that reveal the extent of infighting over tax policy between himself, Michael Cullen, and Helen Clark?

"We all know Dr Cullen doesn't want tax cuts, but Helen Clark realises the political advantages in them.

"Labour is so frightened that it won't even reveal the terms of reference. How crazy is it that the discussion document is out but the terms of reference remains under wraps? What can they be so scared of?

"This Government is stretching every available mechanism to deny New Zealanders access to the truth. This is an abuse of their power and can only reflect a Government in crisis mode.

"The Official Information Act is a vital tool in the discovery of truth and no democratic Government should be abusing this mechanism.

"Being scared of the consequences of releasing official documents is not one of the reasons that can be cited under the Act for withholding information. I will be appealing loudly to the Ombudsman about this abuse of the Act."

ENDS

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