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AG investigates arrangement of convenience

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Constitutional Affairs Spokesman

31 December 2005


Auditor-General investigates arrangement of convenience

We may, as Michael Cullen put it, be working through a time of evolving constitutional arrangements, but the Government of the day, no matter how it’s constructed, must act in accordance with the law, says National’s Constitutional Affairs spokesman, Gerry Brownlee.

He says National is pleased the Auditor-General is investigating arrangements to pay for advisers in the offices of Green MPs from Vote Ministerial Services.

Under the banner of the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministerial Services advertised for two advisers to work for Green MPs Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford, assisting them in developing government policy in their portfolio areas.

The advertisement said: 'One advisor will provide high level advice to Jeanette Fitzsimons in her role of leading government projects in energy efficiency and solar energy, and in her portfolio areas of sustainable economics and transport. The other advisor will work with Sue Bradford on a government buy-Kiwi-made programme.'

“The Greens are not in coalition with Labour, have no formal agreement with Labour, and do not hold Ministerial warrants.

“Such an arrangement, while assisting Helen Clark when she needs to bolster the numbers and sure up her Government, is in breach of the Public Finance Act,” says Mr Brownlee.

“In answer to a parliamentary question, Helen Clark was less than certain about the legality of the arrangement.

“This is not a petty matter. The investigation by the Auditor-General is important because in a democracy, freedoms are only found within respect for the law and that law applies to the Government just as much as it does to individuals.

“Helen Clark knows this arrangement sits outside the law and should move to stop it before the Auditor-General reports,” says Mr Brownlee.

Ends

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