Williamson had pizza on mind

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 24/04/2013

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Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson's attempt to correct omitted wording in an act created by the former Labour Government has led to him having to correct his own gaffe.

He blamed it on his penchant for Pizza Hut - the first place that came to mind while speaking in Parliament, and needing an example of the importance of public safety.

"Everybody thought the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board had the right to go after cowboys. There was an explosion in the Pizza Hut in Nelson that nearly killed people. It was appalling work," Mr Williamson said during the second reading of the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Amendment Bill.

It was news to Pizza Hut that one of its stores blew up.

An explosion happened in 2009 at the Milton St fish and chip shop, which destroyed the shop and seriously injured the owner at the time, and led to charges against a gasfitter and his former employer.

Pizza Hut has now sought an apology and a correction to Parliament's records.

General manager Arif Khan told the Nelson Mail that Pizza Hut was incorrectly named in Parliament as the site of an explosion. As a result, it had been contacted by concerned members of the public.

The company has asked for the information in Hansard, Parliament's written record of what is said in the House, to be corrected.

Mr Williamson went on to say he hoped the Labour Opposition was in favour of public safety, and that his aim was to fix up the former Labour Government's act of 2006 - because it forgot to put in the wording about non-licensed practitioners.

Mr Williamson said naming Pizza Hut was a mistake, and he had apologised, but because it was the only pizza his family ever ordered, it was on his mind at the time.

"My kids keep the share price of it up," he said. "It's like Xerox or Hoover - it's just a brand that came to mind."

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- The Nelson Mail

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