17 Sep 2013

Tiwai decision collective - PM

8:36 pm on 17 September 2013

Prime Minister John Key says the decision to offer a deal to keep the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter open was made collectively and not dictated by him.

The Government last month announced it would give New Zealand Aluminium Smelters a one-off payment of $30 million.

Recently released cabinet papers show that, at a meeting in March, senior ministers decided it was unlikely they'd offer direct assistance.

But just two days later, Mr Key phoned the smelter's owners and offered a deal.

Mr Key said on Tuesday everybody was in agreement that that phone call should have been made.

"... it was a collective view, it wasn't me banging the table saying 'this is the way it should be'," he said.

"Collectively we all decided we should give it one go and see if we could get them over the line."

Mr Key said the payment was relatively small, and worth it to save hundreds of jobs.