Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Key dismisses Mainzeal concerns as a 'beat-up'

Mainzeal Property and Construction had about 440 staff in New Zealand. Photo / Natalie Slade
Mainzeal Property and Construction had about 440 staff in New Zealand. Photo / Natalie Slade

Prime Minister John Key approved Construction Minster Maurice Williamson's directorship of a company involved with failed building company Mainzeal but says any concerns about potential conflicts of interest are a Labour "beat-up".

Mr Williamson will this afternoon face questions from the Labour Opposition about his board role at air conditioning company Holyoake Industries, which has worked with Mainzeal on several projects.

Labour's Deputy Leader Grant Robertson yesterday called on Mr Williamson to step aside from any Government consideration of Mainzeal's collapse or risk perceptions of a conflict of interest.

Mr Williamson this morning dismissed Labour's concerns over his dual roles.

"I've declared everything, always have done, I have not made any decision that conflicts me and if at any time it ever came up I would exempt myself.

It's just not a story."

Mr Key said Mr Williamson had served on Holyoake Industries' board for four years while Construction Minister without conflicts of interest becoming an issue.

It was for each individual minster to determine

There were no rules to say ministers could not serve on the boards of companies working in industries connected with their portfolios.

"They obviously have to seek my approval and I make that decision whether they can or they can't."

Mr Key confirmed he gave his approval for Mr Williamson to take on the Holyoake Industries directorship.

Ministers in that position took advice on managing conflicts of interest.

"Obviously they have to manage them carefully. If they get that wrong then that has serious implications for them, but there's no indication at all that he's either mismanaged that position or done anything wrong.

"The Labour Party must be very bored or have nothing going on if they think that's a story."

- NZ Herald

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