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Fortuin Has To Go -- Brownlee

28 March 2002

"Revelations today that Gregory Fortuin advertises his speaking services noting his Race Relations Conciliator role on a celebrity speaking website (www.celebspeakers.com), again, calls into question his suitability to remain in the role," says National's Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee.

"Inquiries of the site operator reveal that a fee would be payable if Mr Fortuin is booked through this site.

"There would be nothing wrong with Mr Fortuin being on the celebrity speaking circuit if he were not holding a Government appointment to a quasi-judicial position.

"However, if the Police Commissioner, for example, decided to moonlight on the speaking circuit - I doubt he'd hold his job for long. The fact is he doesn't because he knows it is inappropriate and so should Mr Fortuin."

Mr Brownlee says Finance Minister Michael Cullen failed to deny suggestions, in the House today, that Mr Fortuin is receiving more than $200,000 a year from his race relations role and Government appointments to the boards of NZ Post and Industry New Zealand.

"Bill English called for the Race Relations Conciliator's resignation on Monday because Mr Fortuin got himself involved in partisan political matters and nothing has changed - in fact, these revelations make it worse - for the Minister to keep him in the job," Gerry Brownlee says.

"Susan Bathgate resigned over alleged triple dipping and Kathie Irwin is under State Service investigation for alleged double dipping.

"So why with three sources of Government income is Mr Fortuin still in his job after bringing the office of Race Relations Conciliator into disrepute by his involvement in the Alliance's internal wrangle?" Gerry Brownlee concluded.

Ends

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