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Peter Dunne: Vela fisheries story - the facts

Media statement For immediate release Monday, 3 November 2008

Vela fisheries story - the facts

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says today's Dominion Post story linking him to Vela Fisheries is nothing more than a massive beat-up designed to embarrass him just before the election.

"The facts of the matter are these:

On 12 August 1999 I met Mr Meurant to discuss the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No 3) then before Parliament. He made me aware of Vela's opposition to some specific provisions of the Bill.

On 16 August 1999 I issued a press release supporting some of the Seafood Industry Council's concerns about the Bill.

On or about 22 August 1999 Mr Meurant apparently wrote a memo to the Velas recommending they make a donation of $5,000 to the United Party. The first time I became aware of this memo was when I was contacted by the Dominion Post over the weekend.

During the week of 2 September 1999 Parliament debated the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No 3) under urgency. I did not even speak in the debate, nor did I move any amendments to the legislation, and I voted with Government to pass it through its remaining stages.

Mr Meurant apparently advised me in mid October 1999 that a donation was being made to my party.

"There is nothing more to this issue than that - I have never discussed policy with any lobbyist on a 'cash for votes' basis, nor will I.

'I have never met the Vela brothers, nor have my party or I ever received any donation from them, other than this one.

"Mr Meurant's papers are reports to his masters, and as such will obviously have gilded the lily to show what a good lobbyist he was. They should be read with a large grain of salt.

"The question that has to be asked is what, given the fact that these events are 9 years old, is the motivation of the Dominion Post in raising them now, just six days before the election," Mr Dunne says.


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