5 DECEMBER 2019
Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development, eventually declaring a conflict of interest over the NZ Future Forestry Products PGF application wasn't political transparency — it was crisis management butt covering, says the New Zealand Taxpayers Union.
Taxpayers' Union spokesperson Jordan Williams says, "The Minister was alerted to the application on six separate occasions, as early as June. He should have advised the Cabinet Office of the conflict the moment the first report hit his desk."
"It was only after media started asking inconvenient questions that what is required happened. The Minister's delay is severely out of line with the purpose of governmental conflict of interest policies — to ensure decisions with taxpayer money are transparent and not unduly influenced."
"It appears the Minister's disclosure was more about crisis management and butt covering than the objectivity of Ministerial decision-making."