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Parker: John Key Must Require His Minister To Tell The Truth

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Parker
David Parker

8 April 2009 - ACC Minister Nick Smith has been caught out telling what looks like a series of falsehoods and the Prime Minister needs to hold him to account, says Labour MPs David Parker and Trevor Mallard.

"In Parliament today Labour highlighted three separate instances of where Dr Smith has given the media quite different stories about the same issue. Dr Smith repeatedly tried to fudge his answers to the questions put to him.

"Some of Dr Smith's statements are demonstrably irreconcilable, while others appear that way and require explanation," the MPs said.

"The issue goes to the heart of ministerial accountability and integrity. At best these instances show Dr Smith has deliberately and contemptuously tried to play far too cute with the media and the public.

"The differing stories being told by Dr Smith and chairman of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee David Bennett over Dr Smith's appearance at the committee also raise obvious questions.

"Prime Minister John Key needs to stop his Cabinet Ministers misleading people, by refusing to tolerate this. The written record proves Dr Smith has misled. The Prime Minister must act," they said.

The examples are as follows:

1. March 4: Nick Smith said in the General Debate: "The reality is that ACC is effectively insolvent." April I: On Morning Report: David Parker to Nick Smith: "You've been calling ACC insolvent, it is not." Nick Smith: "I have not."

2. March 12: Nick Smith told journalists on the way to the House: ``My appearance arose because the chairman phoned me, the chairman of the committee said that having been advised that Mr Judge was unavailable, would I be available for answering questions about the changes I was making on the board.'' March 26: Select committee chairman David Bennett said in the House:"I did not ask Mr Judge to appear, therefore, I was unable to know when he would appear." Yesterday: Trevor Mallard to David Bennett: "Did he phone the Minister for ACC on 10 March 2009 and discuss the matter of who should attend the financial review of ACC; if so, was it at the request of the Minister or the Minister's office?" David Bennett: "I cannot recall any phone calls made at that time, but there were discussions between the Minister and me around that time." Today: Trevor Mallard: "Was he asked to phone the Minister's office?" David Bennett: said there were discussions and "this may have involved phone calls to the Minister's office." 3. April 2: NZPA: "Dr Smith told NZPA tonight he had never said Mr Judge asked him to appear at the committee meeting." Today: Nick Smith: "the best of my recollection is that (new ACC chairman) John Judge asked me to attend (the select committee.)"

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