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Agriculture Minister may have conflict of interest

Agriculture Minister may have conflict of interest

Agriculture Minister David Carter may have a conflict of interest in relation to the Bill that is being rushed through Parliament to sack the Canterbury Regional Council, the Green Party said today.

Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman revealed the potential conflict in Parliament today.

“This Bill would make it easier for the planned dam on the Hurunui River to go ahead, and Minister Carter owns a farm in the area that would benefit financially if it did,” Dr Norman said.

“This potential conflict of interest should have been declared when the Bill was discussed by Cabinet, but the Prime Minister today confirmed that it was not,” Dr Norman said.

This Bill takes the decision about whether there should be a Water Conservation Order on the Hurunui River away from the Environment Court and places it in the hands of Government-appointed Commissioners.

Dr Norman said it also appeared David Carter had made an inappropriate approach to the people who applied for the Water Conservation Order.

“I attempted to table a document in Parliament which revealed that back in September David Carter approached the people who applied for a Water Conservation Order for the Hurunui River – which would stand in the way of the dam – and asked them to freeze their application,” Dr Norman said.

“This was completely inappropriate both because there was a judicial process underway, and because the Minister stood to benefit personally if the Conservation Order was stopped.

“Furthermore, I understand that David Carter’s approach to the applicants for the Water Conservation Order was brought to the Prime Minister’s attention in December last year and he has done nothing about it,” Dr Norman said.

The Greens have written to the Auditor General asking her to investigate this potential conflict of interest.

David Carter’s resource consent in the Hurunui district:

A file note by one of the applicants for a Water Conservation Order on the Hurunui River describing an approach made to him by David Carter on 3 September 2009:

Dr Norman’s letter to the Auditor General asking for an investigation into the potential Conflict of Interest:


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