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Hiding behind the law – but can’t say which law

National is refusing to come clean on what caused the potential trade dispute with China by hiding behind laws and trade rules they can’t even name, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark.

“National admitted today that an email to the Minister’s office triggered the fear of ‘possible trade retaliation’ from China but refused to give any more details.

“Today Steven Joyce wouldn’t say what prompted discussions about possible trade retaliation on 25 May. He said WTO rules and competition law meant he could not say, but just one question later it became clear he could not identify those rules or legislation.

“It’s obvious that the cover-up of incompetence is more important to this arrogant and out of touch government than being straight with the New Zealand public.

“He is kicking for touch and – just like Todd McClay – trying desperately to avoid providing any information. Who sent the email and why, is important and is in the public interest,” says David Clark.