The Herald reports:
The Opposition says it is “extraordinary” that Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones failed to disclose 61 meetings, forcing him to correct 20 written answers.
But Jones said it was a “clerical mis-match in the office” and there was “nothing to see here”.
As part of its role in Opposition, National puts written questions to ministers for them to answer in due course.
National economic development spokesman Paul Goldsmith asked numerous questions between March and September, many regarding what meetings and events Jones had attended.
On 20 occasions, Jones’ answers had to be amended to include meetings that were previously not disclosed.
For example, in response to a question asking what meetings he attended between August 27 and September 2, Jones originally said none.
But the amended answer shows he actually had five.
“It is completely implausible that the minister did not notice when signing off on his answers to written questions that there were significant volumes of meetings missing,” Goldsmith said.
“How can we have any confidence in what the minister says when so many statements are proven to be inaccurate?”
The most generous interpretation is incompetence. A less generous interpretation is a blatant disregard for the truth and accountability.