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Officials waited for Minister’s ‘guidance’ on Ruataniwha

3 December 2013

Officials waited for Minister’s ‘guidance’ on Ruataniwha submission

New information released by the Green Party today highlights the implausibility of Nick Smith’s responses to date on the Ruataniwha submission, and shows that Department of Conservation (DOC) officials were specifically waiting for his guidance on where to take the issue.

The Green Party has released an email of 17 July 2013 from a DOC staff member to the DOC Deputy Director General saying that DOC staff, “will not be able to provide many authorised comments/stance as we will still be waiting for guidance from our Minister” in regards to a forthcoming meeting with agencies on the Ruataniwha scheme.

“It is increasingly hard to believe the Minister’s claims that he did not influence DOC to suppress its substantive submission on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal,” said Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“DOC officials very clearly state that they were waiting for guidance from the Minister, and yet the Minister maintains he gave no indication on the direction or content of the submission.

“This is particularly hard to believe considering that after waiting for guidance, the Minister met with DOC officials, and within 48 hours the substantial submission DOC had spent three months working on was suppressed.

“It appears the Conservation Minister has been caught trying to please his National colleagues who want an environmentally destructive irrigation scheme and now he is trying to cover it up.

“The fact that DOC officials were waiting for Nick Smith’s ‘guidance’ indicates an involvement that he won’t admit.

“Nick Smith needs to stop blaming a DOC official for a decision it appears he influenced,” said Ms Sage.

Email from DOC staffer regarding waiting for guidance: https://www.greens.org.nz/misc-documents/email-doc-staffer-doris-johnson-re-waiting-guidance-tukituki-proposal

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