Shane Jones’ revelation that he talked to the chief of the NZ Transport Agency about a court case in which he had a distant family connection raises further serious questions for this minister, National’s Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“It is constitutionally inappropriate for any minister to wade in on a matter before the courts which is exactly what Mr Jones has done by saying an adverse outcome for Semenoff Logging in its case against the NZTA could lead to job losses in Northland. We need to know the full extent of his inappropriate behaviour.
“This is the transport company owned by ex-Whangarei mayor Stan Semenoff, who is more than a passing acquaintance of Associate Transport Minister Jones. Back in 2009, Mr Jones said he got a $2000 donation from Mr Semenoff because ‘he's my mother's cousin’.
“This isn’t the first time Mr Jones has been conflicted as official papers show he was at meetings in 2018 when the Government decided to give $4.6 million to the Manea Footsteps of Kupe project. In that case, he was caught out after publicly denying any involvement in a project where he had publicly declared a conflict of interest.
“It is disturbing that wearing his Regional Economic Development hat, Mr Jones has control of a $3 billion provincial slush fund which refuses to make public the salient details of its funding arrangements.
“National believes in open, accountable Government based on prudent, properly assessed policies.”