3 Apr 2013

PM rejects Labour criticism of its management of Tiwai Point

9:50 pm on 3 April 2013

Prime Minister John Key is rejecting criticism that Government mismanagement is causing huge stress to workers at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

The smelter's owners are locked in negotiations with state-owned Meridian Energy for a deal on cheaper power prices, after rejecting the Government's offer of a short-term subsidy.

Labour says mismanagement of the deal is causing huge stress for workers by putting more than 3000 jobs at risk, should the smelter owners pull out.

The Government has refused to say how much it was offering the smelter's owners.

Labour leader David Shearer says clarity is needed.

But Mr Key denies causing stress for those whose jobs are at stake.

He says the Government has put its "best foot forward, which is the sensible thing to do".

"The Government can't control the fact that Rio Tinto are divesting assets and are going through a major change in their business. What we can do is encourage the parties to try to find a long-term solution."