12 Dec 2012

Joyce muzzling ministry, says Labour

11:26 pm on 12 December 2012

The Economic Development Minister says he does not direct his ministry about how it can answer Parliamentary questions.

The Labour Party says Steven Joyce muzzled his ministry, after its head evaded questions in a select committee meeting.

David Smol, the chief executive of the Economic Development Ministry, which is now known as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, was vague and did not answer questions from Parliament's commerce committee on Wednesday.

Mr Smol told MPs he would look through the ministry's records and come back with answers to questions on its finances and procedures.

This follows strong criticism of Mr Smol from the committee last week, for not answering questions at the Ministry's financial review.

Labour MP David Cunliffe says Mr Smol is again ducking for cover, and not providing the normal level of information to the select committee.

Mr Joyce says he is not is directing the ministry in what it can and cannot say.

He says there is nothing inconsistent in the level of information Mr Smol has given to the committee.

Mr Joyce says the Labour Party has got into the silly season a little early.