“If the real reason Winston Peters’ friends got a taxpayer-funded trip to Antarctica was philanthropy, the Prime Minister should release the paper trail to back it up,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“RNZ this morning reported that the Foreign Minister directed Antarctica New Zealand to send two of his friends – Bee Lin Chew and Su Arn Kwek – on a trip to the continent.
“Jacinda Ardern’s explanation in the House today was that Scott Base is in need of redevelopment and the Government is trying to secure philanthropic funds.
“If that is the case, there will be a paper trail. The Government would not seek philanthropic funds for Scott Base without going through a proper process.
“I asked the Prime Minister to explain to the House the process used to select potential philanthropists who might support Scott Base for a trip to Antarctica. She wasn’t able to.
“The Prime Minister ducked and dived around the idea that there should be philanthropic funding, but completely failed to explain how the Government had selected Ms Chew and Ms Kwek as potential philanthropists, leaving their friendship with Mr Peters as the only publicly-known explanation.
“These are not the standards New Zealanders are entitled to demand from their Government. If the Prime Minister cannot uphold these standards from her Ministers, we should get a new one.”