Papers revealed today show that Conservation Minister Sandra Lee is treating her portfolio as a personal fiefdom and
needs to be pulled into line by the Prime Minister, National MP and former Conservation Minster Nick Smith said today.
"Sandra Lee must realise that Government Departments are there to serve all New Zealanders, not private agendas. There
is a conflict between the Minister and the Department and Sandra Lee must explain to all taxpayers just why she wants to
spend public money in this way.
"This is not just an issue about the road, but about using public money to market and purchase Tame Iti's art and
ignoring local iwi over issues in relation to the Urewera National Park.
"It's high time the Prime Minister stepped in and demanded that Ms Lee explain what she's up to.
"It's not good enough for the Prime Minister to stay silent when one of her Ministers is repeatedly allowing personal
agendas to create conflict with important agencies like DoC and Local Government New Zealand.
"The influence Tame Iti has over the Minister and the way that has compromised the work of the Department is a serious
matter. It is clear from the papers that Ms Lee is ignoring the Department and discussions with local iwi in favour of
her friend Mr Iti. The message this sends to Maoridom is that if you want to have a say join the protestors and
activists like Mr Iti.
"The Conservation portfolio deserves to be treated with more respect. There are some serious issues for the Minister to
address but it seems she's only interested in those which will help out her mates," Dr Smith said.