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Inquiry must be truly independent

Primary Industries Spokesperson
Inquiry must be truly independent

Announcements today that Fonterra and the Ministry for Primary Industries will conduct their own inquiries into potential contamination of baby formula will not satisfy concerned Kiwis, farmers and international consumers that the botulism scare has been handled properly, Labour’s Primary Industry Spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“It would be naïve to believe Fonterra and MPI could conduct truly independent inquiries when one or both may be implicated in wrong doing over the way the food scare has been handled,” he says.

Fonterra executives today briefed the Government on the dairy giant’s internal inquiry which will run alongside a separate internal inquiry by MPI.

However, Damien O’Connor says Labour expects an independent inquiry.

“The inquiry should be headed by a judge or suitably independent individual who can demand all relevant parties provide an accurate picture of how the contamination occurred. Findings from the inquiry could then be used to assist the handling of future food scares.

“Ministers have to be more accountable for the image and reputation of New Zealand. This contamination has the potential to undermine our credibility in the international market place.

“That is why it is absolutely essential that full independence in any inquiry is the first and foremost consideration.”


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