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Solid Energy refuses request for Don Elder to meet with MPs

Clayton Cosgrove
SOE Spokesperson

6 March 2013

Solid Energy refuses request for Don Elder to appear before MPs

Solid Energy has refused Labour’s request for former chief executive Don Elder to appear before the Commerce Select Committee tomorrow, despite him still being on the payroll, Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says.

Last week Clayton Cosgrove wrote to Solid Energy’s new chairman Mark Ford and interim chief executive Garry Diack requesting that former CE Don Elder appear before the Commerce Select Committee as part of the 2011/12 Financial Review Hearing of Solid Energy on Thursday 7 March.

Today Solid Energy has responded simply by saying, ‘given that Dr Elder resigned from the role of CEO, it is no longer appropriate for him to represent the company, so he will not be appearing at Select Committee’.

Clayton Cosgrove says: “Solid Energy say it’s not ‘appropriate’ for Dr Elder to appear before MPs. It wasn’t appropriate for Solid Energy to lose $389 million through mismanagement and lack of oversight and taxpayers who are footing the bill have a right to an explanation from the man in charge not his proxies who weren’t there at the time.

“Everyone involved in the collapse of Solid Energy is running down burrows. Tony Ryall and Bill English won’t answer straight questions on it and Don Elder and the former chairman John Palmer are nowhere to be found.

“Tony Ryall himself says Don Elder is still on the payroll in a transitional role. Explaining what went wrong sounds exactly what someone in a transitional role should do. Solid Energy should be prepared to front up with Dr Elder.

“Solid Energy has gone from an export award-winning company bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars to the taxpayer to a basket case. Ordinary Kiwis deserve to know what happened, who is responsible and who should be held to account. Other than the ministers Don Elder is the only person who can provide that information.

“No one attending the select committee tomorrow took the decisions that led to Solid Energy’s collapse. The attendees are the new chair, the new interim chief executive, the chief financial officer and the company’s chief spin doctor. They will not be able to offer a detailed insight or explanation about how Solid Energy went from being worth $1.7 billion a year ago to absolutely nothing now.

“There are $389 million reasons why Kiwis deserve an explanation. Ministers and Solid Energy have to front up and Dr Elder must be present,” says Clayton Cosgrove.

ENDS

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