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MPI staff just the meat in the sandwich

Damien O’Connor
Primary Industries Spokesperson

1 August 2013

MPI staff just the meat in the sandwich

Documents released today reveal the China meat fiasco was a disaster waiting to happen, and one that Nathan Guy could have averted, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“It shows a systematic failure at MPI, with staff failing to alert the relevant Ministers when the problem came to light, and even now say they wouldn’t do anything differently.

“That speaks volumes of Mr Guy’s competency, or in this case, incompetency. It highlights a clear lack of trust in both the Ministry and the Minister by MPI staff.

“The report suggests there was only one official in China dealing with the documentation screw up. The Government had failed to put the resources into China to keep pace with the growth in trade there.

“That is extraordinary, but wholly believable when you consider there have been 90 redundancies at MPI since January last year and there are currently 48 vacancies in the compliance area.

“Concerns have also been raised that a cross agency approach may have been effective if the Ministry had initiated a response quicker than it did.

“This is not only a failure of Mr Guy, but of Murray McCully as Minister of Trade. Despite that they continue to point the finger elsewhere.

“The saga was needlessly drawn out. It cost exporters and it cost the country.

“Mr Guy needs to give an assurance that this sort of thing won’t happen again and further jeopardise New Zealand-China relations.”


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