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Twyford not upfront about Ministerial meeting

Phil Twyford’s omission of a high-powered meeting from his Ministerial diary shows he subscribes to the Clare Curran theory of openness and transparency, National’s spokesperson for Local Government (Auckland) Denise Lee says.

“The Housing and Urban Development Minister met with Environment Minister David Parker and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff on March 2, 2019. This meeting was included in Minister Parker’s diary release but not Phil Twyford’s.

“In response to an Official Information Act request for documents relating to the meeting, Mr Twyford claimed the alleged documents did not exist.

“But a response to a similar request from Minister Parker’s office showed it was in fact Phil Twyford who called this meeting to discuss Auckland’s rural-urban boundary. Furthermore, it was stated this was to be a ‘political meeting with no officials’.

“It appears Mr Twyford deliberately omitted a meeting from his Ministerial diary release to hide a potentially controversial work programme. It also begs the question: what criteria does the Minister use to decide whether the meeting is ‘political’ or not.

“No sensible person could argue this was not a meeting of extreme relevance to his Ministerial responsibilities. Mr Twyford should have been upfront about it and included it in his diary release.

“The fact he wanted no officials to attend – and claims his office holds no official information relating to a meeting he initiated – shows he clearly wanted to keep this meeting out of the limelight.

“How many other meetings relevant to his Ministerial responsibilities has he left out of an information release due to them being ‘political’ meetings?

“During Question Time in Parliament today, Mr Twyford claimed his omission was an error that had been corrected. Yet after Question Time there still appeared to be no mention of the meeting in his Ministerial diary available online.

“This Government declared it would be the most open and transparent New Zealand had ever seen. Mr Twyford’s actions are further proof it is anything but.”

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