Labour's Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff, has slammed the Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully for a cult of secrecy and lack of accountability in the conduct of his portfolio.
"Mr McCully's reluctance to release information that should be subject to public awareness and scrutiny seems more akin to a Soviet Commissar than a Minister in a democracy.
"Eighteen days ago, Treasury approved the release of material relating to the Budget from each Ministry. Every Minister, except Mr McCully, has released that material," Phil Goff said.
Mr McCully has to date refused to approve the release of the material, held in his office, that relates to his portfolio.
"And long after every other Ministry has answered written questions from Select Committees examining the Budget Estimate of Expenditure as of this afternoon McCully's office, under his instructions, was still refusing to release answers prepared by the Ministry six weeks after the questions had been received", Phil Goff said.
"Time and again Mr McCully refuses to comply with the law under the Official Information Act and release material which meets the legal requirement for transparency and openness.
"When Ministerial briefings for the incoming Government were released, Mr McCully ordered the deletion of 16 out of 26 pages of the brief. This was unprecedented and went much further than any other Minister's actions.
"He consistently delays answering requests for information and avoids giving answers to straightforward written questions seeking information.
"He has left his appearance before the Select Committee hearing the Foreign Affairs estimates to the very last possible time, at 12.45pm to 2.00 pm next Thursday. This is despite the Select Committee offering him any time, including outside of normal Select Committee hearing times, to come before the Committee to answer questions.
"This goes beyond the difficulties entailed in the travel schedule for his Office.
"The cornerstone of any democracy is openness and transparency. Mr McCully's conduct of his portfolio fails on both counts", Mr Goff said.
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