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Government Gagging Machine Gears Up

Government Gagging Machine Gears Up

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today questioned Government plans to merge the Ministries of Youth Affairs and Social Development, asking if it was not simply a Government bid to silence Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere.

"The fact that Labour is willing to have Social Development swallow Youth Affairs, yet leave the largely similar Women's Affairs Ministry as a stand alone entity, indicates an ulterior motive on the Government's part," Dr Newman said.

"This would not be the first time that we will have seen the Government manipulate the public sector towards a political end. We saw it in the reorganisation of the social sector - when Labour merged the Department of Work and Income with the Ministry of Social Policy to get rid of former Chief Executive Christine Rankin.

"There were no costings, research, or consultation - Labour simply knew what it wanted, and manipulated the public sector to get it.

"Labour does not want to get rid of Mr Tamihere - yet they clearly do not want him to fully express his views. By merging the Ministries, the Government will effectively gag Mr Tamihere - how will he speak out when he will be working under the target of his earlier criticism, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey?

"No matter how the Government tries to justify this move, the motive is clearly to prevent Mr Tamihere from speaking out. This is a huge abuse of the public sector system. Once again, the great Labour gagging machine is in motion," Dr Newman said.

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