INDEPENDENT NEWS

Who is the second conflicted minister?

Published: Wed 20 Nov 2019 05:46 PM
Today’s extraordinary performance by David Parker and Jacinda Ardern in Parliament raises even more questions about NZ First’s links to a shady Provincial Growth Fund application, National’s Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Yesterday in Question Time, Winston Peters talked about ‘both’ ministers declaring a conflict of interest in Future Forest Product Limited’s bid for $15 million of PGF funding.
“We know Shane Jones was one of them, but who was the other minister and why is the Prime Minister and the Associate Minister of Finance not providing straight answers?
“The Prime Minister was asked directly today ‘were there other ministers or under-secretaries who declared a conflict of interest in the matter being discussed?’ and she utterly failed to answer the question.
“Multiple questions still hang over the Future Forest Products Limited application. While Shane Jones declared a conflict in October after returning from holiday, why did it take him so long to do this when the application began in March?
“When was Mr Jones first aware of the application? What involvement did he have in the application while it was before the Provincial Development Unit?
“The Provincial Growth Fund is $3 billion worth of taxpayers’ money, so it’s right for questions to be asked about the probity of the process, and right for the Prime Minister and her Government to give the public some direct answers.”

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