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Bill Birch Answers Dominion INCIS Questions

18 August 1999

In answer to questions received this afternoon from the Dominion, Finance Minister Sir William Birch said tonight:

Finance Minister Sir William Birch said it was not his intention to litigate the Crown's case against IBM, or to negotiate a resolution of the dispute with IBM, through the news media.

"IBM and the Dominion may choose to do this, but the Crown does not.

"The Crown firmly believes that the appropriate place for litigation to be heard, and for matters relevant to it to be presented, is the Court.

"Negotiations conducted through the media are unlikely to produce the best results for taxpayers, and that has to be the Crown's over-riding consideration.

"The Crown is concerned that the Dominion continues to run unsourced allegations about INCIS. The public need to be able to see sources, to understand whose private interests are served by this unusual approach to reporting.

"We see the concealment systematically being afforded to unnamed private interests as an inadequate information service to readers of the Dominion. News sources need to be publicly accountable, not least to keep them honest."

ends

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