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Solid Energy needs to come clean on Don Elder

12 March 2013

Solid Energy needs to come clean on Don Elder

Solid Energy needs to explain to the public the emerging inconsistencies in relation to Don Elder’s appearance before Parliament’s Commerce Select Committee, the Green Party said today.

Former chief executive of Solid Energy, Dr Don Elder told Radio New Zealand this morning that he had made himself available to appear before the Commerce Select Committee to help answer questions on Solid Energy’s demise. However, the executives of Solid Energy repeatedly denied being aware of this offer at the Select Committee meeting.

“Solid Energy needs to go public on what the truth is about Don Elder’s non-appearance at last week’s Commerce Select Committee hearing,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.

“We have conflicting stories of the truth in the public sphere undermining the credibility of Solid Energy’s leadership.

“People must be confused about whether Don Elder was prepared to front up to the Select Committee or not.

“At this point, only an independent inquiry into Solid Energy’s demise will restore the public’s confidence in this State-Owned Enterprise.

“The National Government shouldn’t be investing any more public money into Solid Energy until the public can have their confidence in Solid Energy’s leadership restored.”

Conflicting evidence: Don Elder’s statement on Radio New Zealand today
Elder: I made myself available to assist the Solid Energy team at last week's sitting of the committee, but was advised that I was not required to be present. I have never refused to cooperate.”

Conflicting evidence: Solid Energy executives to Commerce Select Committee last week
Cosgrove: Did Dr Elder approach anyone in Solid Energy, including the executive team, and offer to make himself available for this hearing—yes or no?
Ford: I can’t answer that yes or no, because he certainly didn’t approach me. I’d have to ask the executive.
Cosgrove: Well, could I ask your acting chief executive.
Diack: I’m not aware that he’s approached anybody on that basis.
Cosgrove: So, just for the record, just tilt the microphone a bit further forward, you’re saying that you are not aware, or any of your other executive team—nod or shake your heads—of anyone in Solid Energy being approached by Dr Elder with an offer from him to appear before this hearing today?
Burg: I’m not aware.
Cosgrove: You’re not aware. Did any of you invite Dr Elder, given the circumstance—
Cosgrove: Can I ask the question again? Did you or any of your colleagues invite—and maybe the colleague over there is the only person in New Zealand who thinks Don Elder shouldn’t be here—Dr Elder or John Palmer to be present today?
Diack: No, we didn’t invite Dr Elder to be present.

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