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PM Should Own Up To Role In Sham Welfare Merger

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman will continue to press the Prime Minister for details of her involvement in the hastily arranged decision to merge the Department of Work and Income and Ministry of Social Policy.

“The Prime Minister has refused to answer the most basic questions simply seeking information about meetings and discussions she had in the very early stages of planning for this mock merger, using a blanket response that the questions touch on ‘issues awaiting judicial decision’.

“I am now filing more written Parliamentary questions asking the Prime Minister if her refusal to answer earlier questions was based on any Crown Law, State Services or other legal advice – and if so, who provided that advice.

“I am not asking the Prime Minister for comment on Christine Rankin and the forthcoming employment case. I am asking her to tell the New Zealand public about her involvement in a hurriedly conceived departmental merger in which neither department was consulted and no costings were done.

“If, as the Prime Minister has asserted, this merger really did have nothing to do with getting rid of Ms Rankin, then she should have no problems with admitting to the public her role in initiating the merger proposal and subsequent involvement in development of the merger.

“This is a merger which affects the jobs of more than 5000 people. These people and the other taxpayers of this country deserve an explanation from the Prime Minister as to why she was so closely involved and what action she took.

“I urge the Prime Minister to stop hiding behind the legal excuses and come out into the open on this issue,” Dr Newman said.


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