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Labour lodges privileges complaint against Nick Smith

David Cunliffe
Labour Leader

16 October 2013

Labour lodges privileges complaint against Nick Smith

Labour today lodged a privileges complaint against Conservation Minister Nick Smith for deliberately misleading Parliament over a Department of Conservation draft submission on the proposed Ruataniwha dam.

Labour Leader David Cunliffe says responses to written questions raise doubts over Dr Smith’s continued assertions he didn’t know about the draft submission until it was leaked to media and raised in the House on September 17.

“The documents show Dr Smith’s weekly report dated May 20 discussed the content of DOC’s submission and referred specifically to concerns about monitoring nitrogen and phosphate levels in the Tukituki river.

“Dr Smith also claims he first asked DOC to give him a copy of the submission on July 29. However, his weekly report dated June 24 shows on June 17 he required DOC to have him approve the submission before submitting it.

“His weekly reports also show the Minister was already briefed on the draft on 20 May, 17 June and 24 June despite telling Parliament he was first told by DOC that they were preparing a submission on 29 July.

“Worse still, Dr Smith has failed to keep his Prime Minister in the loop over the contents of these weekly reports. John Key was today blindsided in Parliament when questioned about them by Labour.

“Labour believes Dr Smith has misled Parliament over what he knew about DOC’s draft submission.

“We urge the Speaker of the House to refer our complaint to the Privileges Committee for consideration,” David Cunliffe says.

Click here to read the Privileges Complaint to Speaker.

ENDS

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