Government must explain the McClay delay

Todd McClay must explain why it took two months for him to properly inform the Prime Minister about China’s potential trade retaliation, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark.

“This may be one of the most serious trade problems New Zealand has faced for some time. Yet exporters have been left in the dark.

“Today Todd McClay admitted he was first made aware of the potential for trade retaliation on 25 May.

“Mr McClay says the Prime Minister was not informed until 18 July and not fully briefed until 25 July - two months after Mr McClay was first made aware.

“That’s just not credible. Either Todd McClay is completely incompetent or he is doing what he did from the start – trying to cover up the story.

“Mr McClay has also been unclear on when he informed the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. In Parliament he only said DPMC ‘was copied into some reports subsequently’. Media reports say DPMC was told on 8 July but Mr McClay says the Prime Minister’s Office wasn’t told until a week later.

“Again this McClay delay defies belief. The Trade Minister’s story simply doesn’t stack up.

“Todd McClay is showing a concerning desire to withhold as much information as possible from business, the public and even the Prime Minister.

“In Parliament today he refused to explain what prompted discussions at ‘various levels of Government’ in May. He is hiding behind bureaucrats. He has told China he has received a properly documented complaint but has refused to tell the New Zealand public.

“That’s not good enough. Todd McClay must come clean – New Zealand exporters need to know where they stand,” says David Clark.