Nat MPs block call for NZTE to return to committee

National MPs have blocked Labour’s attempt to get NZTE to come back to the Commerce Committee to correct their answers on suspension of funding for the Saudi agri-hub, says Labour MP David Parker.

“NZTE and Steven Joyce have dodged, ducked and dived questions on the Saudi agri-hub and National MPs have helped that along today.

“In February NZTE chief executive Peter Chrisp told the Committee funding for the agri-hub had not been suspended, despite an August board paper saying it had.

“He clearly misled the committee – a very serious matter and he should return to explain the situation.

“In a bewildering attempt to clarify their answers publically, NZTE has said it has delayed funding until ownership has been clarified and admitted it has stopped funds but for some reason said the word ‘suspended’ is wrong.

“Officials are following Steven Joyce’s lead and running for the hills from the scandal. Mr Joyce recently turned Question Time into a farce by refusing to answer questions as a minister in charge of NZTE, only to then address but dodge the questions while standing in for the Foreign Minister. His office has also complained to journalists about him appearing in stories about ‘Murray McCully’s deal’.

“Now Mr Joyce has directed his underlings on the Committee to block NZTE from returning. It is yet another slap in the face to the public who want answers,” says David Parker.