Closing ranks over Mainzeal collapse | The Jackal

15 Feb 2013

Closing ranks over Mainzeal collapse

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has defended his connection to the head of collapsed construction company Mainzeal after their relationship was criticised in Parliament.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has repeatedly questioned the relationship between the Government and Mainzeal since the company went into receivership last week, threatening 200 jobs.

He believed the Government knew of the firm's difficulties but continued to give it lucrative contracts in rebuilding Christchurch. Yesterday, he highlighted Dr Sharples' relationship with Richina Pacific chief Richard Yan, whose company owned Mainzeal.

That would be a conflict of interest if true, and makes me think there's a lot more to this story.

Dr Sharples took a $10,000 donation from Mr Yan before the 2011 election, and has been a strong supporter of the Chinese-born businessman's proposal to build New Zealand House in Shanghai.

Which could partly explain why the government continued to give millions of taxpayer dollars to Mainzeal knowing all the while that it was in trouble and might not deliver.

Talk about a total lack of due diligence and a case of I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, which I might add occurs all too often from within our current administration.

He said Mr Sharples and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully both refused to release correspondence with Mr Yan under the Official Information Act.

I wonder what they're trying to hide?

Did for instance past or present key government ministers make secret deals with private Chinese businesses to help Mainzeal secure lucrative Government contracts knowing all the while they might not be honoured? Such a thing is corruption, plain and simple.

These questions will likely remain unanswered until there's a full and independent inquiry... However one thing is certain, the fallout from Mainzeal's collapse will have very wide implications indeed.