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National accused of 'man ban' hypocrisy

Tuesday 12 Nov 2013 6:21p.m.

National accused of 'man ban' hypocrisy

Labour has accused National of hypocrisy for scrapping plans for an all-male government-appointed board to make way for a woman.

This comes after the Government has been enjoying attacking Labour for its so-called "man ban" over the selection of MP candidates.

"I never like appointing all-male boards if I can help it," says Environment Minister Amy Adams.

In choosing a board of inquiry to decide whether the controversial Ruataniwha Dam should go ahead, emails show Ms Adams "was underwhelmed with the potential line-up".

"It's always my preference to have a good balance of gender," she says.

Labour leader David Cunliffe says it's double-speak on the Government's part.

"The National Party has done exactly what they criticised Labour for doing," he says.

"Even though we didn't do a man ban and now they're doing it themselves; I guess people call that hypocrisy."

Ms Adams denies she placed a man ban on the board, but the suggested five-man line up was replaced by four men and a woman. Loretta Lovell was brought on board despite a perceived conflict of interest.

"It becomes very difficult to have someone who has knowledge of the area and the iwi in question who aren't somehow associated," says Ms Adams. "New Zealand is a small country."

Ms Adams is the second minister accused of interfering with the Ruataniwha Dam proposal - Conservation Minister Nick Smith was the first.

"There must be something in the water in the Beehive that ministers can't help themselves but meddle," says Mr Cunliffe.

Those accused disagree.

"They have not found any evidence to back up their quite outrageous claims," says Dr Smith.

The man ban is a sore subject for Labour and National knows it, mocking it at every turn. So it's no surprise Labour is happy to jump in and return the favour.

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22-08-2014 14:00