Swamp kauri

Radio NZ forced to pull their head in

Radio NZ did a dreadful hit job on Oravida and David Wong-Tung over swamp kauri.

That story led Kelvin Davis and Winston Peters to lead an attack on the government in parliament.

There was however a major problem…the story was wrong. So wrong it looks like lawyers were called in.

On Tuesday, 16 June we broadcast a story (and subsequently published it on our website) about the contention of environmentalists in Northland that the Ministry for Primary Industries was failing to ensure that swamp kauri exports complied with the requirements of the Forests Act 1949.

The story referred to Oravida (and one of its directors David Wong-Tung) as a kauri wholesaler.   Read more »

Winston and Kelvin Davis need to get their facts straight

Yesterday in parliament Winston Peters and Kelvin Davis led a shameless and more to the point dead wrong attack against a local company in Northland.

They are trying to link Judith Collins into the attack and Nick Smith didn’t really help her with his hesitant responses.

Kelvin Davis : Has he discussed the issue of swamp kauri exports with Judith Collins, whose husband, David Wong-Tung, and good friend Stone Shi are directors in the chain of shell companies that owns the Ruakākā mill, the ultimate ownership of which is obscured by a lawyer’s nominee company?

Mr SPEAKER : In so far as there may be some ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I thought that this member was above getting involved in that sort of murk.

Kelvin Davis : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did ask a question, and it was not addressed.

Mr SPEAKER : Yes, and I said that the Minister could answer it in so far as there was ministerial responsibility. There was very little connection there with ministerial responsibility. I allowed the Minister to answer it the way he did, and that is acceptable.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is he denying what is well known to locals in Northland: that swamp kauri is being exported illegally and that his ministry’s lax enforcement of the law is because people high up in Oravida are major donors and players in the National Party, and there are the photographs of the logs, all being exported illegally?

Mr SPEAKER : Again, I will invite the Minister to answer if he sees ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : The law in respect of the export of indigenous forests was passed in 1993, with that member’s support. It was softened in 2004 by colleagues adjacent to him, with his support. My advice is that the law is being followed.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He cannot get up and accuse me of supporting a law when I was not a member of the Government. He did it on both occasions—1993 and 1994. We all know that. He is just telling lies.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] No, I do not need further help with that. That is certainly not a point of order. I will invite the Minister, if he wishes, to add further to his answer in order to complete it before we go to further supplementary questions.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I would invite the member to check the Hansard as to how New Zealand First voted in 1993 on the Forests Amendment Act, and, again, as to how the party voted in 2004 when the law was changed.

They are running off their mouths under the protection of parliamentary privilege.    Read more »