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Wilson Must Accept Responsibility for Bathgategate

Wilson Must Accept Responsibility for Bathgate-gate

Thursday 29 Nov 2001 Rodney Hide Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

ACT Finance spokesman Rodney Hide said he was pleased that Ms Susan Bathgate had finally accepted the inevitable and resigned her warrant on the Employment Relations Authority. The only disappointing thing is that it has taken so long and that she hasn't resigned all her warrants.

"Ms Bathgate can't now sit in judgement of her peers. She was double-dipping and refused to accept that what she was doing was wrong. Only two New Zealanders think that she has done nothing wrong in all of this - Ms Bathgate herself and her friend Minister of Labour Margaret Wilson.

"The real culprit in this entire fiasco is Margaret Wilson - who appointed Ms Bathgate to the Authority when Ms Bathgate had not applied for the job of member, had not been interviewed for that job, and had not been recommended for the job.

"Ms Bathgate applied only for the Chief's job but Ms Wilson's selection panel recommended Alistair Dumbleton over Ms Bathgate. Margaret Wilson then rang Ms Bathgate in September 2000 to tell her that her application had been unsuccessful and to see if she would accept a position as an ordinary member. Ms Wilson then crossed out Mike Loftus's name in favour of Ms Bathgate. This was after the selection process had finished and the selection panel had recommended 15 names to the Minister.

"Ms Wilson has defended her friend Ms Bathgate at every opportunity. Following the Auditor-General's revelation of the extent of Ms Bathgate's "double-dipping" Ms Wilson declared that "there is no blame attached to [Ms Bathgate] in this".

"Ms Bathgate herself declared that Auditor-General's "report shows that I have acted correctly throughout". She still maintains that she has done nothing wrong. She now says that she is only resigning because of political attacks. She simply doesn't understand that what she has done is wrong.

"The government must continue with its inquiry following my complaint about Ms Bathgate because only then will we know the full extent of wrong doing and Ms Wilson's culpability. Otherwise it's a cover-up. Ms Wilson should at the very least release the advice that she has received from Mr John Upton QC following my complaint," Rodney Hide concluded.

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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