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Cabinet dilly-dallies over wananga

Cabinet dilly-dallies over wananga

Monday 21 Feb 2005

Ken Shirley - Press Releases - Other

ACT MP Ken Shirley is disgusted Cabinet today has taken no affirmative action to get to the bottom of the serious allegations surrounding Te Wananga O Aotearoa.

"It is very weak that Labour continues to sit on its hands and do nothing. The Audit Office is very limited in its powers. Waiting to see what it comes up with is unsatisfactory and reeks of a government keen to kick the issue for touch until after the election.

"Mr Mallard's verbal report to Cabinet is unbelievably cavalier. Labour is keen to be seen talking tough but all it has done so far is chatted at Cabinet. We're talking about unprecedented allegations and a quarter of a billion dollars of taxpayers' money, but Mr Mallard is more worried about offending the Auditor-General if the Government was to launch a separate inquiry.

"ACT believes today the Cabinet should have appointed a High Court judge to hold a public inquiry. Waiting around for the Auditor-General to try to produce some evidence from his very limited powers is a cop-out.

"Mr Mallard's excuse that a judicial inquiry would take a year and he is not prepared to wait that long is complete rubbish. He could ask for it to report back in six weeks or three months!

"Labour could issue a High Court judge much broader powers and have him or her report back relatively quickly as to what's really going on. Deploying delay tactics is not sustainable. Allegations of abusing taxpayers' money don't get any more serious than this, but alarmingly Labour continues to fumble.

"A few years ago Helen Clark was outraged over a pair of $85 boxer shorts. Now the spotlight's on her for shovelling a quarter of a billion dollars at one cunning wananga and she's no where to be seen," said Mr Shirley.

ENDS

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