Despite his bluster in the House, there is no doubt Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones intervened in an NZ Transport Agency case against Semenoff Logging, National’s Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“This is contrary to the Cabinet Manual and in ordinary circumstances would lead to the Minister’s resignation. Ministers should never intervene in decisions around prosecutions.
“Mr Jones has confirmed in the House that he spoke to NZTA’s chief executive about the decisions and methods of the Semenoff prosecution. He told Newstalk ZB that he asked the NZTA chief for ‘clarification as to why they [NZTA] have been offering immunity and amnesty for Filipino truck drivers to, arguably, spy on New Zealand-owned businesses.’
“Today he accepted in the House that some of those ‘Filipino truck drivers’ no doubt worked for Semenoff Logging.
“Mr Jones intervened at a time when NZTA was deciding on its next steps in this case. The actions of this Cabinet Minister can only be construed as an attempt to influence the decision-making.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern needs to explain to New Zealanders why she thinks this is acceptable behaviour from one of her Ministers. She needs to stop making excuses for New Zealand First Ministers when they act in an inappropriate way.”