Hunt Acting Like Pontius Pilate in Scampi Inquiry?
By Liam Butler - Editor http://www.PortFocus.co.nz
In an exclusive interview with Port Focus an MP who was part of the inquiry into the scampi industry said that the MPs washed their hands of allegations that New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters was compromised during their inquiry because they were concerned that NZ First would hold the balance of power in the next elections and did not want to fall out of favour with Mr Peters.
The primary production select committee met on Monday morning and discussed claims that the Leader of NZ First Winston Peters received a free dinner from Mr Simunovich, a protagonist character in the continuing saga known as the NZ the scampi industry, and that Former MP Ross Meurant, one of NZ First s advisers was also work for Simunovich and wanted to work for and Neil Penwarden of Barine Development with another New Zealander and a French lawyer to explore the business opportunities in French Caledonia. It was Mr Penwarden who sparked the parliamentary inquiry into the scampi industry with by alleging corruption and unfairness against Simunovich and officials from the Ministry of Fisheries. Mr Peters states that he has nothing to with the Meurant row because he had no idea of Ross Meurants' other business relationships.
Winston Peters was a member of the scampi select committee and found that found no evidence of corruption and ruled there was no wrong-doing on Simunovich's part.
Jonathan Hunt, Speaker of the House of Representative of New Zealand has been quoted stating that he wanted to give the committee the opportunity to express a view on the allegations, but after meeting for more than an hour this morning the committee declined to do so.
A member of the primary production committee has told Port Focus that he likened the actions of the "father of the House", Mr Jonathan Hunt, to that of Pontius Pilate. "Mr Hunt washed his hands of the accusations simply because he did not want to get off side with NZ first who are likely to hold the balance of power in the next election" said the senior Member of Parliament and primary production committee member.
Port Focus Editors note:
According to the Labour Party website. Jonathan Hunt is known as "father of the House", Mr Hunt is the longest serving current Member of Parliament.
He was elected to Parliament in 1966 as MP for New Lynn and has served as Whip, Deputy Speaker and was a Minister in the Fourth Labour Government from 1984-1990, holding the portfolios of Telecommunications and Broadcasting, Postmaster General, Tourism, and Housing. He was Leader of the House from 1987-1990.
He was unanimously elected Speaker in December 1999 and subsequently re elected following the 2002 election.