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Immigration inquiry must look at new allegations

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

4 May 2008

Immigration inquiry must look at new allegations

Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove must ensure that the State Services Commission inquiry into allegations of conflict of interest at the Immigration Service thoroughly investigates all the disturbing allegations revealed today, says National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith.

"This issue is getting murkier by the day, and these disturbing fresh allegations must be thoroughly investigated.

"They include:

* The involvement of the service's Pacific Division director, Mai Malaulau, in the processing of the application by relatives of Immigration boss Mary-Anne Thompson. * The appointment process of Mai Malaulau, and the involvement in that of group manager service international Kerupi Tavita.

"According to allegations today by a former deputy manager of the Pacific division's Manukau branch, Sarah Flesher, it was Mai Malaulau who ordered that the application be processed.

"But she had denied any such involvement to former justice secretary David Oughton, who concluded there was 'no evidence to link her with the decision making'.

"There is clearly a conflict over what happened, and the inquiry must look at this.

"We must make sure David Oughton was not misled.

"The inquiry must also look at Mai Malaulau's appointment process and the involvement of Kerupi Tavita in that.

"Mai Malaulau was appointed to her position by Kerupi Tavita, who had himself been handpicked by Mary-Anne Thompson after they had worked together in the Prime Minister's Department.

"Mai Malaulau is a director of a policy consultancy company set up by Kerupi Tavita. Although he has stepped down from that, his wife remains a director.

"The inquiry must go back to the appointment process to make sure it was done correctly and above board."

ENDS

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