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Minister Must Honour Her Pledge To Resign

Media Release
30 July 2003

Minister Must Honour Her Pledge To Resign

The latest round of denials from Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel is rapidly turning into a case of “what she didn’t know and when she didn’t know it” said New Zealand First leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The facts are that Ms Dalziel was briefed on suspected terrorist Ahmed Zaoui on 6th December last year, the same day immigration service spokesman Ian Smith was briefed,” said Mr Peters.

“Within days an agreement had allegedly been entered into for the Immigration Service to ‘lie in unison’ about Zaoui’s detention.

“It is not good enough for Minister Dalziel to repeatedly plead that she did not know about matters happening at the highest echelon of the Immigration Service and in particular this conspiracy against public disclosure of legitimately requested information.

“The fact is that any departmental inquiry at this level would be immediately brought to the Minister’s attention, particularly when the office of the Ombudsman had requested disclosure of all information surrounding Zaoui’s case.

“Ms Dalziel should be stood down now and a full independent public inquiry with terms of reference and personnel in whom the public can have trust be immediately ordered by the Prime Minister.

“An in-house inquiry under the aegis of the Minister will give the public no confidence in its outcome. She has said that there was no agreement to lie about the Zaoui case and that heads would roll if there was, including her own.

“There was an agreement to lie, and she should go – now,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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