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Dominion Breaks Kimberley Embargo

5 September 2001 Media Statement

"Today (Wednesday, 5 September) at midday, I publicly announced the closure of the Kimberley Centre, which houses 375 people with intellectual disabilities. This decision has been 'pending' for over a decade.

"It is a decision that I have made in genuine partnership with the residents and their families, on the understanding that a better quality of life for residents will be available under new community living arrangements.

"Despite my belief that this is the best course of action – a belief shared by the Kimberley working party – I know that the decision will still be disruptive to people's lives. Therefore, I wanted the residents, their families and staff to be informed of the decision through a proper process, before it was reported in the media.

"Given that there are 375 residents at Kimberley, families living all over New Zealand, and three shifts of staff further complicated by roster changes, conveying the decision to all of them was an unavoidably lengthy process, which we knew would take from Tuesday morning until Wednesday midday.

"For that reason, I asked the media to respect the embargo of Wednesday midday, so that the basic rights of residents, staff and families to hear the decision in an appropriate manner, rather than through the media, could be upheld.

"All media outlets, with the single exception of 'The Dominion', respected that embargo request.

"I am disappointed and frustrated with the lack of professionalism from 'The Dominion', and the fact that their 'competitive advantage' was more important than the best interests of the affected parties.

"The Kimberley residents, their families and staff deserved to hear the decision privately and in an appropriate way. They received that respect from all media outlets except 'The Dominion'.


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