Grey ad win nearly cripples New Zealand government

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WELLINGTON -- A measly $100,000 piece of government contract business awarded to Grey Advertising here has resulted in the minister concerned being sacked and has come close to crippling the government by endangering its one-seat majority in Parliament.

Health Minister Neil Kirton appointed Grey for a project promoting free doctor home-visits for children under six, while not disclosing that he had first got advice from Grey's creative director, Marco Marinkovich - who happens to be his brother- in-law.

It's understood Kirton did ask for presentations from a number of agencies, was not impressed by them and consulted Marinkovich who then presented his own ideas.

In a political compromise, the government has removed Kirton from the Health portfolio but he has agreed to stay on as a backbencher voting with the government.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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