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Luxon Must Remove Jones After Undeclared Meeting With Mining Companies Is Revealed

Communities Against the Fast-Track is calling on Prime Minister Luxon to remove Minister for Resources Shane Jones after reports Jones had an undeclared meeting with multiple mining companies about the Fast-Track Approvals process.

“How many more red lines will Luxon allow Jones to cross? Jones’ actions and statements around the Fast-Track Approvals Bill have not only shown contempt for the public but also risk New Zealand’s international reputation as a non-corrupt country. It’s time for Luxon to show leadership and protect the country’s reputation by removing Jones from his Ministerial portfolio,” says Communities Against the Fast-Track (CAFT) spokesperson Augusta Macassey-Pickard.

Newsroom journalist David Williams reported that Jones had failed to declare his meeting with at least three mining companies. Jones had originally stated the meeting was ‘last minute’ but, after further questions by Williams, later admitted it was organised in advance.

The group says this incident isn’t the only dark cloud hanging over Jones and the Fast-Track Bill.

“The Fast-Track Bill is rife with problems around accountability, and risks of corruption and cronyism. Jones’ actions and public statements are a flashing red light warning of this. The risks inherent in the Bill are too great. Luxon must sack Jones and scrap the Bill before both do irreversible damage to our environment and reputation."

Luxon said he “will adapt very quickly and dynamically to changing circumstances and situations” in justifying previous decisions to remove portfolios from Ministers. The group says it’s long past time that Luxon recognises and acts on Jones’ destructive approach.

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The group says it encourages other groups and organisations, and Members of Parliament, to join the call for Jones to be removed from his portfolio .

“This is about the integrity of the New Zealand Government. All MPs, including those in the Coalition Government, should be concerned and speak up about Jones taking a sledgehammer to our international reputation and our beautiful country.”

Many commentators, including the Auditor-General, the Ombudsman and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, have raised concerns about the lack of accountability and risks around conflict of interest in the Bill. The Ombudsman has said that unchecked executive powers could put the country on "a slippery slope".

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