INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cullen Reveals Hidden Agenda

Published: Mon 2 Oct 2000 12:58 AM
"You can't help wondering whether today's Cabinet Agenda, faxed to National's parliamentary offices by the Finance Minister, might best have been kept confidential," National's Roger Sowry said today.
"We appreciate people leaking us information about activities which are detrimental to the people of New Zealand, and Labour-Alliance Cabinet meetings certainly fit into that category. But the Cabinet Office Manual stresses how top secret these sort of documents are, article 4.65 noting 'all Cabinet and Cabinet Committee papers should be delivered in a secure manner, by hand if at all possible... transmission by fax is not acceptable'.
"While the Manual doesn't specifically address this situation, you would imagine transmission by fax 'to the Opposition' would be even less acceptable.
"It's possible that we have been added to Michael Cullen's fax list as a gesture of open and transparent Government, which Labour promised before the election. If that's the case then we would appreciate getting other documents Labour has withheld recently: such as details of golden handshakes, payouts to prisoners and literally hundreds of blanked-out pages in documents released under the OIA.
"The more likely conclusion is that Dr Cullen has stuffed up.
"We have respected the Cabinet Manual and placed the Cabinet Agenda in a sealed envelope. It would obviously be inappropriate for us to hand this document to anyone who is not a bona fide member of Cabinet. But Dr Cullen or another Minister is welcome to collect the envelope from our offices.
"If the person collecting it is one of the low-profile Ministers we may need some form of ID," Roger Sowry said.
Ends
A printable formatted copy of this press release will be available on http://www.national.org.nz along with an archive of previous releases.

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