Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Armstrong Report Fails To Identify Real Villain

Media Release
National MP Murray McCully & ACT MP Rodney Hide

19 December 2003

Armstrong report fails to identify the real villain

The report of the Auditor-General into payments made by Television New Zealand, New Zealand Post and Industrial Research Ltd to the former chair of all three, Dr Ross Armstrong, was never going to identify the real culprit - Prime Minister Helen Clark, according to National MP Murray McCully and ACT Rodney Hide.

Murray McCully and Rodney Hide were behind questions about Dr Armstrong's conduct, prior to the Auditor General deciding to launch his investigation a year ago.

Dr Armstrong was "virtually untouchable" by the normal processes of board and management accountability because of his close association with the Prime Minister, say the two MPs.

"Directors and senior managers in each of the three Government organisations of which Dr Armstrong was chair, make it clear that they were completely unable to question his conduct in the normal manner because he was a close friend and confidant of the Prime Minister.

"That association was underlined by the fact that he held three major Government-appointed chairmanship roles," say the two MPs.

"While the Auditor-General has largely confined himself to finding facts rather than passing judgments, those facts speak for themselves.

"In the space of three years, Dr Armstrong received $584,365 in fees, $292,407 in expenses, dispensed $145,874 of taxpayer funded hospitality, ran up $43,829 in miscellaneous expenses and ran up a bill of $248,884 for professional services he directly hired.

"Not a bad effort in Helen Clark's frugal and accountable regime.

"That Dr Armstrong was able to embark on a spending spree on such a scale was, the Auditor-General finds, a result of the normal systems of accountability breaking down.

"In any ordinary SOE environment the examples of double dipping and excess would have been picked up by the proper management process.

"Dr Armstrong was immune from that process as a consequence of his relationship with the Prime Minister.

"That is where the real villain and the real lesson in this report is to be found," the pair say.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election