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Back in the spotlight


Mr Williamson is a director of Holyoake Industries, which supplies heating and ventilation equipment to big building firms - including Mainzeal, which collapsed last month.

The dealings between the two companies didn't stop Mr Williamson commenting on the plight of sub-contractors owed money by Mainzeal - and Labour has accused him of failing to manage a conflict of interest.

It says Mr Williamson must quit either as a director or as a minister.

Mr Williamson last month told media he had instructed officials that he would not receive papers about or discuss heating and ventilation because of his director role.

But Labour's Grant Robertson says there's no evidence to back up that statement.

"Answers from Mr Williamson to parliamentary questions and information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment indicate that there is no record of any such instruction going to the officials who would actually be supplying papers on heating and ventilation matters," Mr Robertson said.

He says Mr Williamson can only point to discussions with the cabinet office, but that's "meaningless", unless there is a record of officials being aware of a process to manage the potential conflict of interest.

"I still believe that it is farcical to try to separate out heating and ventilation issues from other building issues. But even on this flimsy basis, the conflict of interest is not being managed," Mr Robertson said.

A spokesman for Mr Williamson said he would not be commenting "as it's not a story".

"The minister, through the proper process, instructed cabinet officials he wouldn't receive papers related to heating and ventilation because of his directorship. There has been no conflict of interest," the spokesman said.

Prime Minister John Key has backed Mr Williamson's handling of the matter.
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