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Serious Immigration claims won’t go away

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

20 April 2008

Serious Immigration claims won’t go away

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith is surprised and alarmed that the Immigration Minister does not care about whether the public can have confidence in his department.

“Clayton Cosgrove has now revealed he raised concerns about the unusual visa process for members of a senior official’s family. When did he find out, what does he know, and why is the investigation report being kept secret?

“Since New Zealand is so reliant on immigration policy to fill the gaps left by the Kiwi exodus overseas, the system must be seen to be robust, fair, and free from vested interests.”

News reports say an inquiry, conducted last year but kept secret, found procedures had not been followed in relation to visas granted to family members of Immigration Service boss Mary-Anne Thompson.

Reports suggest Ms Thompson broke the Immigration Service’s code of conduct rules, while another staffer has been disciplined.

“The Minister should order full disclosure and tell us what he knows. There will be ways to protect people’s privacy.

“These are serious claims, and Mr Cosgrove can’t just dismiss them as an operational matter.

“The public will have real concerns if there’s any lingering perception that there are different rules for the family members of senior officials.”

Dr Smith says he is reserving his judgment on whether a State Services Commission review of matters related to the case is required.

“We need to see what ground has been covered by the initial inquiry first.”

ENDS

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