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Weak Minister Accused of Cover up

Sunday 23rd Apr 2000
Dr Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT MP Muriel Newman is accusing Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey of blatant hypocrisy, saying one thing while in opposition and doing another, once in government. “In opposition, Steve Maharey railed against cover-ups and was the champion of openness and accountability in government. Yet now he is in power, he is far worse than those he savagely criticised”, Dr Newman said. “Before the election Steve Maharey vigorously called for full disclosure over the WINZ charter flight however, since becoming a Minister, he has failed to look into the issue himself and has actively tried to cover up answers to my Parliamentary questions. “The Minister refused to provide me with answers to my questions for 17 days. The figures show that spending on the charter flight debacle is now close to $700,000. He then chose to release the figures to the media at the same time as he delivered them to my office. Like others in the Labour Party he used the Easter period for the release of the information because newspapers are not published. “These are the actions of a weak Minister who is clearly demonstrating that the so-called new spirit of openness, accountability and transparency in this Labour-Alliance government, are simply hollow words”, Dr Newman said. Dr Newman will be lodging complaints with the Speaker and the Prime Minister over Mr Maharey’s actions.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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