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Leak a Cover Up of Ministerial Impotence

The Government’s manipulative leak of the Work and Income New Zealand report is an attempt to cover up Steve Maharey’s Ministerial impotence, said ACT MP Muriel Newman.

The report was to investigate the overall performance of Work and Income New Zealand since it’s inception 18 months ago. The review was conducted by former State Services Commissioner Don Hunn.

“This review was a desperate attempt by the Government to make it appear publicly that change to WINZ was on the agenda. However it is common knowledge that change in this area has been limited by the actions of the Minister.
Mr Maharey was outspokenly critical of Ms Rankin and her management style while in opposition. Upon becoming the Minister of Social Services and Employment, Parliamentary Questions revealed that he received high level legal advice, including from the Solicitor General, regarding the impact of those statements. Legal advisers warned Mr Maharey that his verbal attacks had already exposed the Government to the risk of a significant personal grievance claim by Ms Rankin. “In reality Mr Maharey’s verbal bravado has compromised the Government’s ability to act.

“In the report Mr Hunn criticised the organisational culture of WINZ stating that “credibility and parliamentary confidence remained a serious problem.” The Government knows organisational change cannot be achieved while Christine Rankin is charge, yet they are powerless to remove her.

“The Government’s leak of the Hunn report was intended to thrust WINZ into the spotlight, removing the focus from the Government.

“The truth is that while Steve Maharey is the Minister in charge nothing is going to change at WINZ,” said Dr Newman.

ENDS

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