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Government to release full WINZ report

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said it would be several weeks before the Government would respond formally to the report of the Ministerial Inquiry into the Department of Work and Income New Zealand.

Trevor Mallard said the full report would be released today.

"The Government was considering yesterday whether to release the report when we released our formal response to it.

"However the early release does not detract from the fact that the report provides us with a good overview of some of the problems within the Department of Work and Income and some good guidance on how to start addressing some of those issues.

"Over the next few weeks the Government will be considering those issues and how we will respond to the suggestions in the report.

"There is good guidance within the report for both myself, as Minister of State Services, and for Steve Maharey as Minister of Social Services. However, I will not comment specifically on these aspects until they have been fully discussed by Cabinet.

"I also want to categorically deny that the Government somehow pressured the inquiry head Don Hunn to adapt the report more to our liking. Mr Hunn followed the rules of natural justice by providing draft copies of the report to the Chief Executives of Work and Income as well as to me. I passed a copy on to Mr Maharey.

"Mrs Rankin, with her lawyers, made submissions seeking a number of changes. Mr Maharey made a submission on one recommendation that was in regard to the timing and processes of solving some of the problems. Mr Maharey felt that Mr Hunn's original proposals caused some unnecessary delays in implementing solutions.

"Some of the suggested changes have been incorporated into the final report by Mr Hunn. I do not believe that they change the basic tenor of the report.

"I would also like to highlight the fact that the review team acknowledges in its report that they were very impressed with the quality of many of the staff around the country and their dedication to the success of the department's policies.

"I want to tell those staff that the Government will do our best to work to ensure that improvements are made to the structure of the department so that frontline staff can continue to get on with their jobs.

"Finally, I would like to thank Don Hunn and his review team for the thorough and thoughtful completion of the report," Trevor Mallard said.


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