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Privileges complaint a desperate political stunt

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister of Conservation

16 October 2013

Privileges complaint a desperate political stunt

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith has dismissed a privileges compliant by Labour Leader David Cunliffe, describing it as a joke and a political stunt.

“It is Mr Cunliffe that is not telling the truth. He has claimed that I clearly intervened to stop the leaked draft on the Tukituki catchment proposal from being submitted. This is despite the fact DOC’s Deputy Director General Doris Johnston saying on the public record that she made the decision, that I did not play any role in her decision-making, that she did not know my view, and that I never saw the leaked draft submission,” Dr Smith says.

“It is not credible for Mr Cunliffe to claim that Ms Johnston, a well-respected neutral public servant appointed during the Labour Government, is not telling the truth.”

Dr Smith says Mr Cunliffe’s claims in Parliament today that on 20 May, “the department told Smith that it was preparing a submission” are also false. The weekly report does not say a submission was being drafted. Likewise the minute from 24 June that refers to “any submission” reinforces that a decision had still not been made on whether DOC would submit or not.

“This privileges complaint is a joke and shows a desperate Labour Leader whose claims on Tukituki have proven to be false,” Dr Smith says.

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