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Time For Government To Decide Rankin’s Future

ACT is today calling on the Government to either back or sack Christine Rankin to enable the country’s largest Government Department to get on with the job of looking after New Zealanders in need.

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the Government’s position since the ‘leaking ‘ of Don Hunn’s report has been ‘dithering and ridiculous’.

“Helen Clark further damaged the Government’s credibility and undermined WINZ by continuing to snipe at Christine Rankin when questioned over the Hunn Report. However, no Government Minster has owned up to the fact that it was Labour’s loose and uncontrolled attacks on Rankin in the first place that has left them red faced and floundering now.

“Christine Rankin already has a seven figure personal grievance case in the bag should she choose to take it. As soon as Steve Maharey became Minister he received top level legal advice that he should tread very carefully around Mrs Rankin because his vicious attacks in opposition had already exposed taxpayers to a huge personal grievance from her.

“That is why Steve Maharey and his colleagues have been pussy-footing around her and why they have not moved, as they said they would, to sack her. The Government’s attempt to ‘draw a line in the sand’ on the past eighteen months of turmoil in the Department and make and fresh start with the Hunn Review is simply clap trap. Until they resolve whether or not they will be working with Christine Rankin things will not improve.

“In the interests of enabling WINZ to get out of the headlines and on with its job the serious situation between Rankin and the Government must be resolved.

“A lack of self-control and discipline has put the Government in this untenable situation with Christine Rankin. Helen Clark and Steve Maharey must admit that to the public. They must then move as quickly as possible to either stop the sniping and back her or to bite the bullet and have her removed as the head of WINZ.

“Because of the Government’s bungling, neither path is going to be without further political embarrassment. However, they now need to keep site of what is important. The longer the current mess is left, the longer WINZ will struggle to carry out its core functions,” said Muriel Newman. ENDS

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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