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Newman Seeks Breach of Privilege Ruling on Mallard

Newman Seeks Breach of Privilege Ruling on Mallard

Thursday 19th Apr 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT Social Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman is writing to the Speaker of the House to seek a ruling on whether Trevor Mallard breached Parliamentary privilege with his answer to a parliamentary question she recently asked.

“I believe that I, and the people of New Zealand have been misled and I want the Speaker to rule urgently on the matter.

“Following the Prime Minister’s decision to tell a newspaper in March that a departmental merger was being considered, I asked Mr Mallard: What work, if any has been commenced on plans to restructure, reorganise, or reshape, one or more social policy departments, including the Department of Work and Income, the Ministry of Social Policy, the Ministry of Education and/or the Department of Labour and, if any, when did he first receive any papers on this matter?

“He replied on March 26: ‘Apart from work underway to place responsibility for special education within the Ministry of Education, the Government has made no decisions to restructure, reorganise or reshape one or more social policy departments. It is however, considering the longer-term options for government machinery, including the shape of the social sector.

“Papers which Mr Mallard himself distributed to the media last night clearly show that in fact as early as last December he responded in writing to requests from Helen Clark seeking his views on the possibility of amalgamation of the Ministry of Social Policy and the Department of Work and Income.

“In the light of this, I consider Mr Mallard’s answer to my question was at best, evasive, at worst deliberately misleading.

“It is bad enough that this Government should have undertaken this sham merger purely to get rid of Christine Rankin. It is far worse if people within Cabinet have sought to mislead the public.

“The people of New Zealand expect high standards of honesty and integrity from their MPs and particularly Government Ministers. Any movement away from those standards would be a serious abuse of power and would lower the whole standing of Parliament,” 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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