INDEPENDENT NEWS

O'Connor Silent As Government Betrays West Coast

Published: Thu 19 Oct 2000 10:48 AM
The West Coast Accord was expunged yesterday in the worst ever abuse of constitutional power in the history of the New Zealand Parliament and the one person who should have spoken out for the West Coast was silent, National MP Nick Smith said today.
"Damien O'Connor is paid to advocate in Parliament for the people of the West Coast. He conveniently absented himself for the three days of intense debate on the committee stages and third reading. No issue is of greater importance to the West Coast in this term of Parliament but when his people needed him, he was silent.
"The silence of Justice Minister Phil Goff was also telling. His signature appears in the Accord document on behalf of the Crown. He once proudly boasted his role in the Accord on his curriculum vitae. His absence and refusal to speak in any part of the debate shows how embarrassed he is at the Government's actions. If you can't trust the Minister of Justice's signature in this Government, whose signature can you trust?
"Labour dumped on its birthplace yesterday and its betrayal will never be forgotten. The worst aspect of the whole debate is that the policy to end sustainable logging was based on a myth. Damien O'Connor missed the one opportunity he had to destroy the myth. The people of the West Coast will not forgive him for wimping out when this Bill passed its critical stage," Dr Smith 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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