Two thousand people put their names to that petition – a petition that spotlighted some serious concerns about the integrity and the credibility of the project, its design and its costing.
The very obvious perceived conflict of interest by Teariki Heather, the Minister in charge of the project, is now no longer a perception but a very real conflict of interest.
The main concern is that Minister Teariki Heather, who has been promoting this multi-million dollar water project in all the Vakas as the Minister, has now got his own private company, where he holds a controlling share and appears to be the silent director of T&M Heather Ltd, has been awarded a contract doing some of the work. This is the same Teariki Heather who spoke in all the Vaka meetings, saying that his company would not be involved in this project?
Can the Minister of Finance Mark Brown confirm to the people of this country whether or not T&M Heather Ltd has been awarded the contract for this work? Clearly eyewitnesses have come forward to say that already T & M Heather machinery, equipment and workers with the company logo are working on site at Avatiu.
In the event that the Minister of Finance Mark Brown doesn’t come forward with any information on T&M Heather being awarded the contract, then the general public will take it that Minister Heather’s company has been awarded the contract. If this is the case, then this Caretaker Government is involved in corrupt and unethical practices, with conflicts of interest and abuse of proper process.
But it doesn't just stop there with this Government, because this is the same attitude and approach that Minister Brown took when asked for his comments about the CINews Thursday April 24 article “Report Slams Government for Misuse of Public Funds”. His comment was to refer the matter to PERCA – the same office that has come under fire for so many things including the Colagate affair and the lack of direction offered by the Minister when a member of the PERCA committee had been unfavourable and was correctly highlighted in a recent Court of Appeal for abusing his position. The Minister did nothing then and will do nothing now.
Passing the buck and not addressing corrupt practices is what this Government is all about and has been what it has practised for almost four years. So let’s wait and see if the Minister of Finance or the Prime Minister has any integrity left to tell the people of this country whether or not T&M Heather was awarded the Te Mato Vai contract and at what price?
Don't hold your breath; you'll be waiting a long time.
(Name and address supplied)