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Pressure Now On Government To Decide Rankin's Fate


Pressure Now On Government To Decide Rankin's Fate

Wednesday 26th Jan 2000
Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Social Welfare

Following the exit yesterday of Police Commissioner Peter Doone, the ACT Party
is putting pressure on the Government to decide the fate of another beleaguered
high ranking public servant.

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the position of WINZ Boss
Christine Rankin is also untenable and the Government must bite the bullet and
make a decision about her future.

Muriel Newman said an Employment Court decision released last week that found
in favour of the former WINZ employee who was sacked over the charter aircraft
debacle last year again raised the serious question of whether Christine Rankin
was mislead by the staff member over the incident as she stated publicly. "Ms
Rankin's conduct and the issue of her ultimate responsibility as the Chief
Executive has never been publicly resolved in respect of this issue," said
Muriel Newman.

"As with the Police Commissioner there is a perception of inappropriate conduct
that will not go away. That perception has both seriously eroded public
confidence in Ms Rankin, WINZ and the public service as a whole.

"Employment Court Chief Judge Tom Goddard ruled that the employee was "not a
wrong-doer but a person who has been wronged". The ruling again demands public
clarification of whether or not the Chief Executive was in fact mislead by the
staff member over the incident and whether in turn Christine Rankin's public
statement that she had been mislead was correct.

"Social Services Minister, Steve Maharey stated in July that 'a staff member
was being blamed for the spending, but the buck stopped at the top'.

"I have asked the State Services Commissioner to urgently review Christine
Rankin's position as Chief Executive of WINZ and to verify her statement that
she was mislead over the chartering of the aeroplane.

"I have gone to the State Services Commissioner on this matter because it
appears Steve Maharey lacks the political will now that he is Minister to
inquire further into this issue or to make a decision over the future of
Christine Rankin.

"Steve Maharey should reconsider his earlier statement that Mrs Ranking should
''go" because she had damaged the credibility of the entire public sector.

"It is vital that both the Minister and the New Zealand public have the utmost
confidence in the Chief Executive of the country's largest Government
Department," said Muriel Newman.
ENDS

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