Countdown should front - Labour

23:19, Apr 08 2014

Labour is challenging Progressive Enterprises to front up to a parliamentary select committee after the supermarket group this week requested a transcript of a meeting.

Labour commerce spokesman Clayton Cosgrove today wrote to Dave Chambers, managing director of the company that owns Countdown, asking him if he wanted to appear before the committee.

It emerged this week that Progressive's lawyers, Russell McVeigh, had written to the committee saying it "requires" complete records of the concerns that had been raised in the committee's "inquiry" into Countdown's alleged market misconduct.

In fact, the Commerce Commission is investigating possible breaches, which the commerce committee raised questions about during a financial review.

National MPs on the committee yesterday blocked attempts to invite Chambers to appear, but Cosgrove today invited him anyway.

"I believe it is important that the view of your company is heard by the committee and as such I am more than prepared to move another motion inviting you to appear," Cosgrove wrote.

"If PEL [Progressive Enterprises Ltd] does not wish to appear, I would be grateful if you could outline the reason(s) why."

National MPs on the commerce committee last year blocked a Labour bid to invite the former management of Solid Energy, John Palmer and Don Elder, to front up to the committee over the mining company's near collapse.

In the end Palmer and Elder did front, when it emerged that they had already written to Solid Energy saying they were prepared to appear.

A statement from Progressive yesterday suggested that it had no desire to be questioned by MPs.

"We aren't seeking an opportunity to appear before the committee," a spokeswoman said in the statement.

"We are simply seeking to understand what was said at a meeting to consider whether there were any views expressed or things said that we felt we needed to comment on."

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