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Too soon to bring back Nick Smith - Greens

Tuesday 22 Jan 2013 10:35 a.m.

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Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says former ACC Minister Nick Smith shouldn't return to Cabinet in today's re-shuffle.

Prime Minister John Key is today expected to announce Dr Smith's return to the front bench, after resigning last year after admitting a conflict of interest in the Bronwyn Pullar ACC scandal.

"I've always said that I'm not ruling him out and that if I made that announcement on Tuesday, don't think he'd be surprised," Mr Key told 3 News yesterday, calling Dr Smith's mistakes a "hiccup".

But Ms Turei says it's still too soon to bring the experienced MP back into Cabinet.

"He is an experienced minister and he knew that it was wrong and unethical, but he did it anyway," she told Firstline this morning.

She says his penance should last for "the rest of the term at least".

"If he is brought back and if he's given an environmental portfolio, I think that'll be because the Government wants to greenwash their policy. National is very toxic to the environment."

Ms Turei says National has an "obsession" with mining, has abandoned reporting on conservation issues and has "consistently undermined" environmental work.

Watch the video for more of Metiria Turei's views on the return of Nick Smith, the Government's treatment of the environment and the inauguration of Barack Obama as he begins his second term as US president.

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