Last night Steven Joyce was caught out lying about whether the Green Party had requested a briefing from him about the status of the reefed ship Rena and the environmental situation in Tauranga.
On Close Up last night, Joyce vehemently denied that any opposition party had approached his office asking for a briefing. Here is the transcript (and the video. Joyce starts speaking from 3:30)
MS: Have you done everything you can? You have emergency powers that you can bring into play, have you used those? Have you done everything you can? Because the opposition are saying ‘Here’s the Government happy to step in when it’s the World Cup, what’re they doing about an environmental disaster?’
SJ: Well actually I have no time for the opposition in this regard. I have not had a single request of my office or of the ministry for any briefing from any opposition politician whatsoever. They’ve just gone out there and taken positions without knowing anything about any of the facts. So I would respect them…
MS: Putting aside the fact…
SJ: No, No. I would have respect for them if they came to me and said ‘look, here’s the thing minister, we’re very keen to get the information and then we’ll be in a position to offer an opinion’. And I think that’s very important.
MS: Putting aside the opposition, you have these powers. They’re saying you, you haven’t used those, you’re willing to in other circumstances. Is that a fair cop?
SJ: No. It’s not a fair cop at all. They’re entirely different situations.
Problem is that my office did contact his office yesterday morning.
Emails here [PDF] show that my office first emailed at 10:10 AM yesterday and Joyce’s office replied at 12:41PM.
My office then called our contact in Joyce’s office at 3PM to confirm that Russel Norman would be in Tauranga and wanted to meet with the Minister as well.
Joyce’s Close Up interview was pre-recorded at 4:45PM.
Interestingly Joyce’s office contacted my office again just before 5PM to formalise a point of contact who would be in Tauranga from today.
If Joyce is willing to be liberal with the truth about something like whether the Green Party had contacted his office it makes me wonder about what else he is lying about and whether we can trust anything he says about the clean-up.