Shane Jones forestry affair gets even murkier

Published: Tue 21 Jan 2020 09:55 PM
Revelations that Shane Jones met with representatives from a NZ First-linked forestry company, after point blank denying it the day before, should throw his future as a Minister into question, National’s Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“As each day goes by the NZ Future Forrest Products Limited affair gets murkier and murkier, and Shane Jones keeps digging a bigger hole for himself.
“Just yesterday the Regional Economic Development Minister claimed he had no idea about NZFPP’s bid for $15 million of PGF funding until October 2019, when he declared a conflict of interest.
“This is despite the company, which has deep ties to NZ First, saying it had given the minister a presentation about its project months before the conflict was declared.
“But today, Shane Jones’s memory has suddenly returned and he now admits he did in fact meet with David Henry, the NZFFP director who signed the application form.
“This is a significant admission. First, it contradicts the minister’s earlier statements. Second, it makes it even more unlikely the minister had ‘no idea’ about the company until October when he formally recused himself. Third, the meeting does not appear in his Ministerial diary records – why?
“The Prime Minister should be investigating her wayward Regional Development Minister, who has clearly broken the rules by not declaring a conflict of interest immediately.
“Former Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran lost her ministerial role over less.”

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