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


Lie in unison issue only the tip of Zaoui iceberg

26 February, 2004

'Lie in unison' issue only the tip of Zaoui iceberg

Green MP Keith Locke says the culture of secrecy revealed by the Ombudsman's report into the 'lie in unison' affair in the Immigration Service is an inherent feature of the entire Zaoui debacle.

"Andrew Lockhart, the general manager of the Immigration Service, should go," said Mr Locke, Green Party spokesperson on Human Rights.

"He created a climate of super-secrecy around the Zaoui case that infected those lower down, such as the author of the 'lie in unison' letter, Ian Smith. Smith should not be the fall guy for a problem infecting the whole department.

"We need a much more open and accountable Immigration Service. It should uphold the spirit of the Official Information Act and volunteer, rather than hide, documents.

"It is shocking what happened to Mr Zaoui at that time. He was being slandered as a terrorist and isolated in Paremoremo. When I first visited Mr Zaoui, just before the 'lie in unison' letter, he was denied access to a Koran, writing materials, a radio or contact with his family. For helping Mr Zaoui I was slandered in Ian Smith's media log.

"It is good the Ombudsman is holding a broader inquiry into the way the Immigration Service, Corrections and Customs have, in my view, mishandled the Zaoui case.

"The comments from Mr Lockhart in the report show that the Immigration Service conspired with other agencies to keep Mr Zaoui and his case away from the public. The police view expressed in a memo just before the 'lie in unison' memo was that: 'There is also a political risk that he [Mr Zaoui] will try to gain some support by utilizing the media'.

"This sort of anti-democratic reasoning seems to have consistently motivated officialdom in their dealings with Mr Zaoui. The anxiety about the media has been repeated in the Sri Lankan girl's case, where it led to the demise of Lianne Dalziel.

"From day one, the Zaoui case has been bedevilled by the withholding of critical information by various government officials. For instance, we have only recently seen the summary of the SIS allegations against him, and they are either false or laughable.

"So far the only person coming out of this affair looking fully honest is Ahmed Zaoui himself. The Refugee Status Appeals Authority has described his answers to their questions as truthful, uncontrived and candid - even when the evidence may have proven to be disadvantageous."


© 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