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Handling of Field inquiry besmirches all MPs

Hon Lockwood Smith
National Party Immigration Spokesman

21 July 2006

Clark’s handling of Field inquiry besmirches all MPs


National’s Immigration spokesman, Lockwood Smith, says Helen Clark’s handling of the Field Inquiry has besmirched all MPs.

“Her claims that the Ingram report reveals no wrongdoing but just errors of judgment reflects badly on all MPs.

“The report uncovers an extraordinary saga in Mr Field’s role as an MP that no ordinary citizen could get away with. The report raises far more questions than answers.

“Not only did a number of key witnesses either refuse to be interviewed by Mr Ingram, or simply ignored his requests for interviews, but he found that some of those who did speak to him did not tell him the truth. He even questioned the genuineness of a crucial document provided to him by Mr Field, and rates as ‘unsatisfactory’ the nature of some of his explanations.

“After the inquiry was launched, Mr Ingram reveals that Mr Field sought to influence what those from whom he had purchased a house were saying publicly about the matter.”

Dr Smith says the report threw up a range of other issues as well.

“Has Mr Field been trading in properties and, if so, has the tax treatment of that business been appropriate? Has he been involved in circumvention of his own Government’s Employment Relations Act by paying cash to ‘contractors’ to avoid paying proper wages or even the minimum wage?

“Helen Clark’s Government made big store of its Employment Relations Act. She claimed it strengthened requirements on employers to prevent them from exploiting workers by circumventing normal employment requirements. Mr Ingram’s report suggests her own Associate Minister of Justice may have been involved in exactly that kind of activity.

“As a long standing Member of Parliament, I find it offensive that Ms Clark suggests that that kind of behaviour is simply an error of judgment”, says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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