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HNZ in crisis as chief quits for Australia

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Housing Spokesman

16 June 2006

HNZ in crisis as chief quits for Australia

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley wants the Chairman of Housing New Zealand to clarify who is in charge.

“The Auditor-General’s recent report said Helen Fulcher was away overseas when an ‘inappropriate and unwise’ gagging order was signed off. New Zealanders will be shocked if Ms Fulcher’s stand-in is one of those who was caught up in the recent inquiry.

“HNZ Chairman Pat Snedden says he has known for some time that Ms Fulcher was quitting. He and the Minister have had plenty of warning, so must have some kind of transition plan in place. What is it?

“And why, if they’ve known for so long, did they wait for the Minister to be out of the country before making the announcement? Suspiciously, this comes just a few days after Chris Carter admitted misleading Parliament.”

Mr Heatley says the resignation raises more questions about the department.

“It is certainly a significant development. HNZ is lurching from one crisis to the next. It has failed to provide reliable answers to Parliamentary questions, former employees have complained of a ‘bullying culture’, and the recent Auditor General’s limited report raised serious questions about accounting processes.

“Vandalism has soared, untaxed income from borders is common and there’ve been revelations that some HNZ households are earning up to $100,000.

“On top of all this, we have a Minister who misled Parliament about when the board chair found out about serious claims levelled at the corporation.”

Mr Heatley says he is pressing ahead with his requests for a Parliamentary select committee inquiry.

“Housing New Zealand needs to be subjected to some serious scrutiny. It’s falling apart and we haven’t even started scratching the surface yet,” he says.


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