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PM's office denies Ingram Inquiry crucial evidence

Hon Lockwood Smith
National Party Immigration Spokesman

06 December 2006

PM's office denies Ingram Inquiry crucial evidence

Labour's refusal to pay for legal advice for the original Taito Phillip Field whistleblower has ensured the Ingram Inquiry missed out on crucial evidence, says National's Immigration spokesman, Lockwood Smith.

"It also probably meant the inquiry took longer and cost more money becasue other witnesses clearly provided information designed to confuse the Inquiry.

"Dr Noel Ingram, QC, approached the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in December 2005 asking the Crown to pay for legal costs for key witness Keith Williams. Mr Williams had requested legal advice before giving evidence.

"The Prime Minister said in the House on 30 August that Dr Ingram did not raise the issue with her office.

"Recently it was reported that DPMC Chief Executive Maarten Wevers confirmed that Dr Ingram took a request to him and he turned it down. What's startling about that revelation is that Mr Wevers knew at the time that Mr Williams would not give evidence to the Inquiry without legal advice.

"How is it that the Prime Minister does not know what is going on her own office?

"It's incredible to think that the only person other than Maxine Field, who knew of the secret deal between Taito Phillip Field and Sunan Siriwan, was denied legal protection and did not give evidence."

ENDS

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