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Immigration resignation sparks more questions

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

13 May 2008

Immigration resignation sparks more questions

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says the resignation of Immigration Service boss Mary-Anne Thompson does not signal ‘closure’, as the department says.

“The resignation of Dr Thompson serves to reinforce the seriousness of the allegations that were levelled at top managers. Labour has still not answered key questions in relation to those allegations, and the subsequent departmental cover-up.

“Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove needs to say when he first found out about the allegations against Dr Thompson and the subsequent Oughton inquiry. His predecessor, David Cunliffe, should answer the same questions.

“The Minister’s first instinct was to dismiss the issue as an operational matter. That only served to underline perceptions of a shabby cover-up.

“The reality is that the first inquiry implicated other managers, and revealed a culture where staff have come under pressure to approve immigration applications that fall outside the rules.

“And even though a wider State Services Commission inquiry is now under way, Ministers have never released the terms of reference, never revealed the likely timeframe, and never offered any assurances about a full public release of its findings.

“Unless Ministers openly and transparently deal with all the questions that the Oughton report raised, and publicly declare their own involvement, confidence in the Immigration Service will still be compromised.”


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