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Lockwood Smith Should Have Done Some Homework

Lockwood Smith should have done some homework

National MP Hon Dr Lockwood Smith should have done some homework before taking "a cheap political potshot" at New Zealand's designate High Commissioner to London, Right Hon Jonathan Hunt. This comment comes from Terry Dunleavy, former inaugural CEO of the Wine Institute of New Zealand, and long-time member of the National Party. He was referring to a report in the Sunday Star-Times that Mr Hunt had accepted a barrel of Pinot Noir in recognition of his alleged agreement to act as an ambassador for Vavasour Wines, of Marlborough.

"If Lockwood had taken any trouble to speak to anyone else in the wine industry, he would have learned that Jonathan has readily agreed to be an ambassador of all New Zealand wines. He would also have learned that this is entirely appropriate in Britain where New Zealand is better known for our wines and their quality than for anything else we produce that Britons can eat or drink. Jonathan knows very well that in Britain especially our wines are a flagship product for everything we export to that country.

"From discussions I have had with Jonathan about what he could do to help us celebrate in January next year the 25th anniversary of the first trade tasting of our wines in London, I can confirm his keenness to be an ambassador for all our wines. As indeed he has been since his first year in Parliament when, in 1967, as a newly elected MP for west Auckland, he raised a question in the House as to why New Zealand wines were not being served at official government functions", said Mr Dunleavy.

"I don't think Peter Scutts of Vavasour was very wise in embarrassing Mr Hunt with the offer of a gift barrel on Pinot Noir or in misrepresenting what Jonathan said about being an ambassador for all New Zealand wines.

"As for Lockwood Smith, I would have thought he would have been more usefully employed in trying to emulate his colleagues Bill English, Tony Ryall, and lately, Dr Paul Hutchison, in addressing the numerous shortcomings of the present government," said Mr Dunleavy.


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