John Key insists on a very public apology

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The China steel dumping WTO complaint story first broke on Whaleoil on Saturday and just about everyone talked it down.  It was a non-story. A beat-up.

That must be why John Key is throwing Todd McClay under the bus for it.

Trade Minister Todd McClay has apologised to Prime Minister John Key for the way he handled the reported threat of Chinese trade sanctions.

He says he should have asked for a more thorough briefing before he answered media questions while he was in Indonesia with Mr Key last week.

“I want to make it clear today that there have been discussions and limited correspondence over the past few months as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has endeavoured to assess the veracity of these reports,” he said on Monday.

“I have apologised the the prime minister for not being able to provide more details at the time.”

Mr McClay’s comments caused confusion following the Fairfax report, published last Sunday, which said Pacific Steel had lodged a confidential application for an investigation into imports of cut-price Chinese steel.

The report said China, believing New Zealand was part of a hostile US-led alliance, had threatened reprisals against dairy, wool and kiwifruit exports if an investigation into product dumping was launched.

Mr McClay at first denied knowing anything about it, saying it was “hypothetical”.

Except it wasn’t.  It is very real.  Real enough for a major exporter to ask for more information and some assistance.

The matter is clearly being dealt with through back channels now, but Key seems to have the need to throw a minister under the bus for something rather minor in the scheme of things.

Forcing a minister to apologise to you in public is quite the slap in the face.

 

– Yahoo! News

 


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