What is Labour trying to hide?

Labour members of the Social Services and Community Select Committee appear intent on limiting further parliamentary discussion of the ‘They Are Us’ film production, in particular questioning of the New Zealand Film Commission over the details of its funding, National’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Simon O’Connor says.

“Responses to a number of Written Questions from the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage reveal that the New Zealand Film Commission were aware of the production of the They Are Us film as early as May 2019 however it took them took them three attempts to get this information correct for the Parliamentary record.

“Committed to building a clearer picture of events and ensuring that the facts surrounding the situation were fully transparent, National’s spokesperson for Broadcasting & Media Melissa Lee and I requested that the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage and the New Zealand Film Commission should re-appear before the Committee for questioning.

“However, Labour and Green members of the Select Committee used their majority to only invite the New Zealand Film Commission, allocating half the time requested for the discussion.

“The twenty minute appearance at Select Committee, of which the National Opposition is likely to get less than half of, will prohibit any proper scrutiny of this serious situation.

“Furthermore, the debate has been strictly limited by the Government, only allowing discussion about ‘clerical errors’ significantly impacting the Committee’s ability to seek fulsome answers for the people of New Zealand.

“The Minister and the New Zealand Film Commission should both be liable for further questioning and held accountable to the Committee, particularly when it comes to such sensitive and emotionally-charged issues.

“National will get to the bottom of this and ensure the Government is working for and toward the public’s best interests,” says Simon O’Connor.