29 Jul 2013

Ministry refusing to release China delay documents

3:53 pm on 29 July 2013

The Ministry of Primary Industries is refusing to release documents about an administrative blunder that left millions of dollars worth of New Zealand beef and lamb on Chinese docks for weeks.

The ministry says it will not release the material because a review will soon be made available.

Earlier this year, chilled and frozen meat shipments worth up to $100 million were held up on Chinese ports for nearly two months because New Zealand officials had used the wrong certification forms.

The ministry had to re-issue 1600 certificates in the name of the former New Zealand Food Safety Authority to get the meat through.

In response to Radio New Zealand's request under the Official Information Act for all correspondence and documents relating to the issue, the ministry said it would need longer than the normal 20 working day timeframe to respond.

However, another 26 working days later, it has refused to release any information.

Radio New Zealand has laid a compliant with the Ombudsman.