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Another Case of Ministerial Interference

Simon Power National Labour Relations Spokesperson

14 November 2001

Another Case of Ministerial Interference

This Government is building up a track record of meddling in departmental operational matters that should send alarm bells to all of New Zealand.

That's according to National Labour Relations spokesperson Simon Power who only a week after the Tariana Turia saga has discovered another case of a Minister getting involved in operational matters.

"I have a letter written by the Minister of Police George Hawkins which clearly shows he had a very hands on interest in a case where the police decided not to pursue criminal charges relating to two union officials after they were arrested at a recent violent picket line, says Mr Power.

The incident happened on August 29 this year when two union officials were arrested at a picket line at Carter Holt Harvey's South Auckland plant.

"This letter clearly demonstrates that after the arrests the National Distribution Union contacted the Police Minister and it is clear the Minister had discussions with police over the matter.

"What is even more concerning is that in the letter to Mike Jackson, National Secretary for the Union, Mr Hawkins assures him, "Police will continue to give this matter careful consideration".

" How can the Minister of Police give such a strong assurance unless he himself is taking a direct personal interest in this matter?

"What is emerging with this Government is a behaviour pattern that shows that if you have mates in the right places, such as Ministers of the Crown, just give them a call and they will intervene

"That is not the standards that New Zealanders expect from Ministers and we need an assurance from the Prime Minister that her colleagues in Cabinet are going to lift their game plan, says Mr Power

Ends


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