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Labour slammed again for political interference

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Services Spokesman

07 January 2008

Labour slammed again for political interference

National Party State Services spokesman Gerry Brownlee says senior Labour Ministers face fresh claims of heavying appointed officials and trying to influence the outcome of a supposedly independent decision-making process.

“David Parker’s been labelled ‘naïve’ and ‘disrespectful’. He has also been accused of acting inappropriately, in an affidavit by former Electricity Commission chair, Roy Hemmingway which has been published on the Internet.”

Mr Brownlee says Mr Hemmingway has blasted Labour Ministers for breaking their own rules when it came to the independence of the Electricity Commission. His evidence is included in an application for a Judicial Review of the Waikato pylon decision. Visit: http://notowers.co.nz/jr/ .

“Mr Hemmingway alleges ‘direct interference’ from the Minister, but describes David Parker’s ideas as naïve and disrespectful.

“The former Chair suggests Mr Parker had his own agenda, involved himself in an ‘inappropriate’ level of detail and lectured the commissioners about ‘how we were to do our jobs’.”

Mr Brownlee says Mr Hemmingway’s strong criticism also stretches to include Michael Cullen who said he would deny a tense meeting between Ministers and the Commission took place if it was ever made public.

After Mr Hemmingway resigned he was temporarily replaced by former CTU economist and former Michael Cullen adviser Peter Harris. He filled in until former Labour Cabinet Minister David Caygill was appointed chair in October 2007.

“In light of the fallout at the Environment Ministry this is particularly relevant. Here we have a situation where a Commission chair complaining about David Parker’s ‘inappropriate’ and ‘naïve’ interference is replaced by people with well known Labour leanings.

“It bears striking similarities to the modus operandi at the Environment Ministry, where Ministers tried to silence critics by attacking and bullying them, before finding candidates who were more likely to do the Government’s bidding without question.”

ENDS

Attached: Extracts from Roy Hemmingway’s Affidavit – 2 pages [PDF].

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