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PM The One Playing Personality Politics

Prime Minister The One Playing Personality Politics On Lexchin Affair

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says the Lexchin affair is not about attacking Professor Peter Davis' professional reputation.

"Professor Davis has a well-established professional reputation, which I respect, and which the record shows I have not attacked, "

"Nor will I do so."

"However, in this instance I am critical of his judgement in the way he recommended his friend and colleague Dr Lexchin for the Pharmac review appointment - something even the Prime Minister now acknowledges was a mistake."

"The Prime Minister was the first person to try to broaden the issue into a wider attack on the role of MPs' spouses, and now she has been joined in this campaign of deflection by other Ministers, which I deplore," he says.

Mr Dunne says the real issues of the Lexchin affair are accountability and due process.

"This Government has embarked upon an unprecedented range of policy reviews and it is important for the credibility of both this process and its outcomes that its actions in the appointment of reviewers are clearly seen to above reproach."

"In the Lexchin case, questions clearly remain."

"Why, for example, was the Government so keen that Dr Lexchin carry out the review, even after his own early warnings of a potential conflict of interest arising out of his friendship with Professor Davis and his long standing criticism of the pharmaceutical industry?"

"What was the real role of the Minister of Health, who has told Parliament she was not involved in the appointment in any way, but who now claims it was she who invited Professor Davis to nominate Dr Lexchin, and admits that she kept in informal contact with the Health Funding Authority throughout?"

"Why was Hon David Caygill appointed to the review at the last minute to provide legal balance, when the previous nominations of a retired Appeal Court Judge and a prominent Queen's Counsel had earlier been rejected in favour of Dr Lexchin who had no legal background?" Mr Dunne asks.
Ends


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