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Leaked papers Government wants "pawns and yes-men"

Bill English National Finance Spokesperson

19 October 2000

Leaked papers show Government wants "pawns and yes-men"

Opposition Finance Spokesperson Bill English has released secret Government briefing papers for next Tuesdays Business Forum which, he says, "portray the Forum as nothing more than a cynical manipulation of the good intentions of the business community."

"The Prime Minister's confidential briefing papers outline not just the detail of the workshops which will be headed by Ministers, but also details of the conclusions which business leaders are going to reach at the end of the discussion," Bill English said.

"For example, after Dr Cullen has headed a workshop on Enhanced Investment Capital Availability and Sustainability the Government has decided that the assembled businessmen will 'spontaneously' decide to establish a Foreign Direct Investment Taskforce.

"Those attending have seen no paper from Dr Cullen or any other Minister attending the Forum. They do no know the subjects for the workshops or who will head them. Yet the Government has presumptuously determined the specific conclusions they will reach.

"That is a complete breach of faith with those who have been invited, and demonstrates the Government's clear intention to treat them as pawns and yes-men.

"Many of those who are attending have made it clear that they are attending despite their opposition to many of this Governments policies, because they see it as their duty as New Zealanders.

"The revelation that the Prime Minister has carefully scripted their words, actions and decisions from the moment they arrive until the minute they leave will make many feel belittled and used," Bill English said.

Ends

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