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More dodgy dealings at Environment Ministry

Hon Dr Nick Smith MP
National Party Environment Spokesman

20 February 2008

More dodgy dealings at Environment Ministry

An admission today that a Ministry for the Environment official attempted to threaten a submitter at a select committee is further proof of political interference in the public service, says National’s Environment spokesman, Nick Smith.

On 7 February, environment consultant Warren Snow, from a company called Envision, was making an oral submission to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee when he was told by a Ministry official that he ‘wasn’t doing himself any favours by criticising MfE’s advice to the Minister’.

“Mr Snow rightly took this comment as a threat that he would not get funding from the Ministry’s Sustainable Management Fund if he continued to criticise Labour for its record on sustainability.

“This came from a supposedly politically-neutral public servant and is just another example in a long list of breaches of neutrality by this Ministry.

“That Mr Snow has now received an apology is not the point. Nor is Minister Trevor Mallard’s admission that ‘the official’s behaviour was unacceptable’.

“The point is that Labour’s influence and interference in the public service is rife and must be stopped.

“When a desperate Government is reduced to manipulating the public service to deliver its message, it’s a sign of deep and systemic rot.

“Mr Snow has every right to be very upset, but this is an issue that should concern all New Zealanders.

“Labour is out of order, out of ideas, and almost out of time.”


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