15 Apr 2019

NZ-China Council downsized after Peters meeting - report

From Morning Report, 7:10 am on 15 April 2019

Senior members of the New Zealand China Council have reportedly been told there's no room for Dame Jenny Shipley to be reappointed when it undergoes a restructure next month.

The downsizing of the council is said to be a result of a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters late last year. In February, the High Court ruled that collapsed property and construction company Mainzeal traded while insolvent for nine years and has held some of the directors, including Dame Jenny, liable for $36 million for letting it happen.

It's been made clear the government sees Dame Jenny's role on the council no longer tenable - RNZ understands at least one minister has already directly raised it with senior council members. RNZ political reporter Jo Moir has this story.

The report has however been emphatically denied by NZ-China Council executive director Stephen Jacobi, who we talk to following the discussion with Jo Moir.