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Government Should Have Heeded ACT Warnings

Government Should Have Heeded ACT Warnings

Tuesday 17th Apr 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT warned the Government nearly a year ago that it was risking a taxpayer-funded payout of around a million dollars to Department of Work and Income Chief Christine Rankin, but the Government chose to ignore the warnings, ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said.

“I said back in May 2000 that Steve Maharey’s injudicious verbal attacks on Ms Rankin had exposed the taxpayer – through the Government - to the risk of a significant personal grievance claim.

“In the meantime the Government has taken no action to defuse the situation caused by its errant Minister. On the contrary it has escalated the situation through its lightening-fast, little-planned, sham restructuring of DWI and the Social Policy Ministry – a move which surely all taxpayers recognise as solely aimed at getting rid of Ms Rankin.

“And now those taxpayers have confirmation through Ms Rankin’s lawyers that part of their hard earned money may well be squandered on an unnecessary $800,000-plus payout.

“Mr Maharey should be accountable for this as well as the costs of the sham restructuring. His credibility is shot. If Mr Maharey had been personally liable for this payout, instead of the taxpayer, I’m sure he would have found a better way to handle this problem that he knew he had caused over a year ago,” Dr Newman said.

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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