New Zealand Labour Party

John Key must sack out-of-depth Trade Minister

The Prime Minister must sack Todd McClay for failing to do his job as Trade Minister and be on top of a significant potential threat to some of our biggest exporters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“Todd McClay is clearly out of his depth. The lapse is so serious he cannot credibly continue to be Minister of Trade.

“The Minister’s bizarre press release today, apologising to the Prime Minister for failing to get on top of a potential crisis for our exporters, is nothing short of embarrassing for the National Government.

“Todd McClay has had three contradictory positions about possible trade retaliations from China inside a week. First, he said there was no indication of any concern from China. Second, a day later he said officials had told him a week earlier about the concerns while he was in China. And third, today he admits the issue has been discussed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for months.

“A Minister who does not appreciate the seriousness of possible retaliatory action by our biggest trading partner against some of our biggest export industries simply should not be in the job.

“New Zealand needs to examine closely if cheap steel has been dumped in New Zealand and back the workers and companies in our steel industry if this is the case. At the same time we need ministers who are managing the fallout at the other end.

“If John Key won’t sack Todd McClay, the Minister should do the right thing for New Zealand and resign.

“John Key also has questions to answer. It defies belief that an issue of this significance that has been going on for so long would not have reached the Prime Minister. If that is true then there is a serious breakdown in his Government,” Andrew Little says.