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Time for Katherine Rich to put up or shut up

12 August 2004 Media Statement

Time for Katherine Rich to put up or shut up

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey is demanding Katherine Rich repeat her allegations about the Maori Women’s Welfare League outside Parliament.

During Parliamentary question time yesterday Ms Rich distorted information to allege that cheque fraud was occuring within the Maori Women’s Welfare League, which receives Community Employment Group funding. Ms Rich refused to be interviewed by National Radio’s Morning Report programme this morning on those allegations. League General Manager Jacqui Te Kani was interviewed by the programme and went on to comprehensively refute Ms Rich’s allegations.

Steve Maharey said Ms Rich’s allegations about cheque fraud had been checked and had been proved to be wrong.

“It’s time to put up or shut up. It is simply not acceptable for Katherine Rich to make serious allegations in Parliament when she is so unsure of her facts that she won’t repeat them outside the House.

“Katherine Rich has developed a record of making lurid claims which, on checking, prove to be wrong. For example, she recently accused another Maori organisation of receiving $2000 to develop a non-existant website. In fact the organisation used the grant to conduct a feasibility study on the best to communicate with its members, and has gone on to set up an e-mail distribution system.

“The Maori Women’s Welfare League has a proud history and does not deserve to be the subject of spurious allegations of fraud.

“It’s only a short walk from the Parliament’s debating chamber to the rest of New Zealand where people making things up face real consequences. Ms Rich she should take that walk and face being sued when she is proved wrong,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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