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House Orders Jones Letter To Be Published


Parliament has taken the unusual step of ordering the publication of a document in order to protect an MP and others from legal action.

Last week Shane Jones tabled with leave his letter of complaint to the Commerce Commission which echoed statements he made under parliamentary privilege alleging a supermarket chain was demanding money from suppliers to cover losses.

Jones said in the House suppliers had told him Countdown management wanted money or the suppliers would be excluded from their stores.

Countdown, owned by Australian company Progressive Enterprises, has rejected the accusations and said it would co-operate with any investigation.

The Clerk of the House declined to release Jones letter citing a ruling from Speaker Wilson that releasing a document tabled by an MP did not give those releasing or publishing it protection from legal proceedings under privilege.

Only material which Parliament ordered to be published was covered by privilege, Speaker David Carter said today.

After some debate a parliamentary motion ordering the letter’s publication was passed though John Banks did say if Jones was confident in his claims the Labour MP would issue the letter himself.

Carter said with the direction to publish the House and Clerk would be protected from legal action


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