11 Nov 2008

Lab row's Bierre sues Clark

6:18 am on 11 November 2008

A central figure in the row over who should provide community laboratory testing services in Auckland is suing outgoing Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Tony Bierre says he believes he was defamed by Miss Clark in comments she made at the height of the row in March last year.

In a statement lodged with the High Court in late October, Dr Bierre says Miss Clark told reporters he had misled Auckland District Health Board and questioned the legality of his actions.

Dr Bierre says the comments were untrue and defamatory, cost him his job, led to his having to sell his laboratory testing firm, and meant he had been unable to work in New Zealand since.

Dr Bierre says Miss Clark should have known there was no finding of criminal conduct against him.

He says he is not seeking money but an apology.

Lab Tests Auckland Ltd won the original laboratory testing contract with the district health boards in Auckland.

The contract was later overturned by a judicial review, but has since been reinstated on appeal. The contract was worth $560 million over eight years.