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Loss of Lashlie 'a catastrophe'

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

22 April 2001

Loss of Lashlie 'a catastrophe'

Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley says the sacking of Special Education Services Manager Celia Lashlie is a catastrophe in terms of stifling an honest and commonsense debate about the chaos surrounding some New Zealand families and their children.

National is demanding the Prime Minister investigate who took the decision to fire Ms Lashlie for speaking the truth.

"The parallels with the Neil Pugmire 'whistleblower' case are too obvious to be ignored. In both instances the person spoke out in the interest of protecting the safety of society. In both instances they were sacked for their actions.

"In the case of Ms Lashlie the loss is profound. My observations of her, both in her former role as head of Christchurch Women's Prison and latterly in the field of education, show her to be a hugely skilled person with a profound insight into strategies to help families in chaos. Losing her skills is a catastrophe in terms of us ever being able to come up with solutions that work.

"No one in New Zealand should be punished for telling the truth, and doing so in the public interest. The firing of Ms Lashlie certainly seems to be against the spirit of the Government's much vaunted 'whistleblower' legislation.

"Our society is much the poorer if people like Celia Lashlie are shut out of public debate on important issues. Even if the Government did not instigate this situation, it is now essential that they investigate who initiated this.

"I call on the Prime Minister to see that Ms Lashlie is reinstated immediately, so that her skills are not lost to the public sector in New Zealand," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends

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