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Green Party Alarmed At New PR Contract

1 July 1999

Green Party alarmed at new PR contract

Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today she was concerned at news that the New Zealand Army had signed a new contract with PR firm Communications Trumps. The information was revealed in the answer to Ms Fitzsimons' question in the House today.

According to written questions Ms Fitzsimons has put to ministers, the Army already holds one current contract with Communications Trumps for over $300,000 and other government departments have held contracts with them totalling around $200,000

Communications Trumps is the company that made headlines in April this year when the Green Party publicised a paper by Trumps addressed to a client, King Salmon New Zealand. The paper advises King Salmon to keep their genetic engineering programme under wraps and not to mention deformities on their fish to anyone outside the company.

Communications Trumps also managed the pro-genetic engineering lobby group GenePool. Today the Education and Science Select Committee learned that GenePool paid Trumps $189,000 for this job. GenePool were funded by both Monsanto and the New Zealand taxpayer.

Jeanette Fitzsimons said she was concerned that government agencies were continuing to sign up new contracts with Communications Trumps.

"I am concerned that the Minister of Defence finds it appropriate to hire a public relations company who would even consider advising a client to keep an issue of public interest secret," she said.

"I am worried that the public could lose confidence in their armed forces if the information promoting them comes from a firm which appears to find it acceptable to keep the facts from the public."

ENDS

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