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ACT To Seek Parliamentary Inquiry

ACT Leader Richard Prebble today stated that he was drawing up the documents needed for a formal Parliamentary inquiry by the Maori Affairs Select Committee into the Waipareira Trust.

“The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Tamihere has now publicly indicated that he is willing for the Maori Affairs Select Committee to look into the growing number of allegations of financial impropriety by the Trust.

“It is important that the Select Committee launch an inquiry because there is a serious inadequacy in the Government’s monitoring processes for services provided by private organisations such as the Waipareira Trust.

“For services provided in West Auckland by Government Departments the Auditor General can not only monitor the spending but can also report on its cost effectiveness. For services provided by the Waipareira Trust, the Auditor General has no legal powers to audit, beyond checking that the money was sent to the Trust, and he can’t even inquire as to whether the services were even provided. Nor can other Government control agencies. Only Parliament has the power to investigate the allegations that have been made.

“I will put the issue in front of the Committee at its next meeting on Thursday and I now expect Mr Tamihere to vote in favour of the inquiry.

“I have stated to Parliament that Mr Tamihere should step down as Chairman of the Committee while the inquiry is underway but he has repeatedly stated that he won’t.. However, I have decided not to let his refusal to stand aside prevent the Committee from examining these allegations as they involve substantial sums of taxpayer’s money.

“I observe that not only will Mr Tamihere be the Chairman of the Committee for the inquiry, the Government will have a majority on the Committee and as Mr Tamihere thinks this is important I further note that most of the Members of the Committee are Maori. He could not have a more favourable Inquiry.

“I am prepared to put the documentation in front of the Committee. We can call the witnesses, most of whom are also Maori, and find out what has really been going on,” said Hon Richard Prebble.

ENDS

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