Solid Energy to face contempt charges

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 08:54 13/03/2013
Clayton Cosgrove
CLAYTON COSGROVE: "This committee has, in my view, been treated with contempt."

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Labour will lay contempt charges against Solid Energy following the commerce select committee hearing last week.

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove claims the state-owned coal miner refused to answer questions at the hearing but was "singing like a canary" to media.

Last night the company's external affairs manager, Bill Luff, who was at the select committee, gave a lengthy interview to TV3's Campbell Live in which he explained some of the company's problems, including its assumption that coal prices would remain strong.

Yet the executive team "repeatedly states that they couldn't answer questions because the events happened before their time," Cosgrove said.

Acting chief executive Garry Diack also said at the committee that former boss Don Elder had not offered to appear at the hearing.

That was incorrect, Elder had offered and been turned down and Diack was forced to write to the select committee to correct his answer.

Elder, and former chairman John Palmer, are now expected to appear before the committee tomorrow.

But Cosgrove has called for Speaker David Carter to investigate Solid Energy for contempt and deliberately misleading the select committee.

"Taxpayers deserve to know why an export award-winning company is now a basket case and why they should pick up the $389 million tab."

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