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Health Minister Must Explain Heavying Letter

The Health Minister owes the women of Gisborne an explanation over the extraordinary letter she sent heavying the Cervical Screening Inquiry team, National Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

"It is astonishing that Annette King has interfered with the Inquiry by writing to the Chair telling her it isn't necessary to go to the High Court for information and raising questions about finding the money to pay for it.

"The Health Minister has acted extremely unwisely.

"The Minister can't escape the perception of a conflict of interest because her Ministry is a party to the High Court action.

"It is not good enough for Annette King to claim she's waiting for a private response to a private letter.

"The Minister should not have been heavying the Cervical Screening Inquiry in this manner in the first place.

"The Inquiry is acting within its Terms of Reference. It was asked to establish whether there were any similar problems in other parts of New Zealand, and given the circumstances this looks like the most sensible and reasonable way of finding that out.

"Ministerial Inquiries must be able to do their job without political pressure or political interference.

"Annette King has overstepped the mark as Health Minister and serious questions must be raised about her actions.

"The least she can do is front up to the public and explain why she has taken this extraordinary step."

Ends

Inquiries: Wyatt Creech 06 306 9419 or 021 421 290

Regards

Anna Hughes

A printable formatted copy of this press release will be available on http://www.national.org.nz along with an archive of previous releases.




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