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Greens want conflict of interest inquiry

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has asked Auditor-General Lyn Provost to investigate what he says is a potential conflict of interest involving Agriculture Minister David Carter and a proposal to dam the Hurunui River.

NZPA
Thu, 01 Apr 2010

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has asked Auditor-General Lyn Provost to investigate what he says is a potential conflict of interest involving Agriculture Minister David Carter and a proposal to dam the Hurunui River.

Dr Norman raised the issue in Parliament today, asking Prime Minister John Key whether any cabinet ministers declared conflicts of interest when the legislation that empowers the Government to appoint commissioners in place of Environment Canterbury's councillors was discussed.

Mr Key said he could not recall any conflicts of interest being raised but he could check that.

Dr Norman then asked: "Is he aware that the Agriculture Minister, David Carter, owns a farm with an irrigation consent in the Hurunui district and stands to gain financially if the proposed Hurunui irrigation scheme goes ahead?"

Mr Key: "I am aware he owns a farm in that area. I'm not aware whether he would benefit because the whole matter needs to be considered by the commissioners."

Dr Norman later said in a statement he had written to the Auditor-General asking her to investigate the situation.

"This potential conflict of interest should have been declared when the bill was discussed by Cabinet, but the prime minister today confirmed that it was not," he said.

"The bill takes the decision about whether there should be a water conservation order on the Hurunui River away from the Environment Court and places it in the hands of government-appointed commissioners."

Dr Norman has also asked Ms Provost to investigate alleged comments Mr Carter is said to have made to a member of Forest and Bird at a function in September last year.

Dr Norman released a document, which he has sent to Ms Provost, in which Chris Todd of Forest and Bird said Mr Carter suggested the applicants for a water conservation order on the Hurunui River freeze their application for 12 to 18 months so that a negotiated agreement could be reached.

Dr Norman said the request was inappropriate because Mr Carter had a personal and financial interest in the Hurunui irrigation scheme going ahead.

NZPA
Thu, 01 Apr 2010
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Greens want conflict of interest inquiry
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