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Families Commission bust-up

Hide seeks answers over Families Commission bust-up

Wednesday, 20 April 2005

ACT Leader Rodney Hide today demanded Labour make public the reasons behind the bust-up between the Families Commission and its former chief executive and reveal details of any payout. Mr Hide was responding to Claire Austin’s sudden departure from the commission after just five months in the job.

“Prime Minister Helen Clark has a duty to hard-working taxpayers to come clean and explain what is going on at the commission,” Mr Hide said.

“Ms Austin’s departure from the commission shows Labour’s million a year sop to Peter Dunne is off the rails and in big trouble.

“It’s simply not good enough for chief commissioner Rajan Prasad to refuse to disclose what payout Ms Austin has received or to just say that her departure was over governance and operational issues.

“If taxpayers have to pay for this multi-million dollar buy-off of United Future’s support, then they deserve to know what is going on behind closed doors.

“It seems the only time Kiwis hear a peep from this supposedly apolitical commission is when it comes out and slams Opposition parties’ policies.

“The commission hasn’t achieved anything. It isn’t going to achieve anything. It’s just a sop to soak up more bureaucrats and should be canned.

“The Prime Minister and Mr Dunne, the commission’s architect, have a lot of explaining to do. A good start would be to tell the public what is really going on, and what, if anything, it has cost taxpayers to make Ms Austin slip away quietly,” Mr Hide said.

ENDS

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