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PM's Presser: Gaps, Banks And Grievances

The work done by the Closing The Gaps Cabinet Committee, which was Chaired by Prime Minister Helen Clark, would go on under the Social Equities Committee, which will be chaired by Social Services Minister Steve Maharey, the Prime Minister said at her post-cabinet press conference today.

She said the Government would be setting the specific initiatives for Maori and Pacific Islanders within the broader social policy of helping the disadvantaged.

Miss Clark said it should not be seen as a downgrading of the importance of the work that the Prime Minister is no longer chairing the committee. “I will be keeping an active eye on it,” she said.

Also at today’s post-Cabinet presser:

PEOPLE’S BANK: The Prime Minister said Cabinet has not taken a decision on the New Zealand Post Kiwi Bank proposal.

Miss Clark said a decision will be made in the next few weeks, but said “one would hope that would be possible next week.”

“NZ Post has put up what they consider to be a solid proposal,” said Miss Clark.

“It has to have a good chance of success, which New Zealand Post believes it has.”

Miss Clark said the proposal has to withstand scrutiny. She wouldn’t be drawn into saying the drawn out process of making a decision was because Cabinet felt it did not withstand scrutiny.

“We are simply taking the time to do it properly,” she said.

DALZIEL IMMIGRATION GRIEVANCE: The Prime Minister said the personal grievance settlements made to two immigration officials after Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel made allegations against the officials in Parliament were not against the Immigration Minister.

“A Personal grievance can’t be taken against Lianne … she’s not the employer,” Miss Clark said.

The Prime Minister said she found it “Rather surprising” that Miss Dalziel still doesn’t know what time Immigration officials knocked on the door of a Filipino family, sparking a controversy when the Minister accused officials of lying to her over the time of the raid.

Miss Clark said the Immigration Minister didn’t make her comments out of malice, but made them with the information she had at the time.

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