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Immigration: Release the terms of probes

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

15 May 2008

Immigration: Release the terms of probes

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says the Government must release the terms of reference for the probes that have been conducted and are currently being conducted into the Immigration Service.

“We don’t know what the State Services Commission is looking at, nor do we know what David Oughton was asked to look at in his original probe of unlawful immigration decision-making.

“How can the public have any confidence in the inquiries that are underway, if they won’t say what they’re looking at?

“How do we know that the Oughton report covered all the bases, when they won’t reveal the scope of his original inquiry?”

Dr Smith is also calling on Clayton Cosgrove to clarify his position.

“Mr Cosgrove has now publicly confirmed he was briefed on the Oughton report in December. So why didn’t he take action until the issues raised in the report became public in April?

“When Mr Cosgrove was initially asked by the media about the case, he pretended to know nothing, and dismissed it as an ‘operational matter’. Yet it would have been crystal clear to him at that point that this was more than an ‘operational matter’ and was about serious policy breaches.

“The former Minister, David Cunliffe, also has questions to answer. When was he briefed, as Mr Cosgrove was, by the Immigration Service’s chief executive about the Oughton inquiry?

“On his behalf, Michael Cullen said yesterday that Mr Cunliffe had not seen the report, but that does not mean he did not know what was in it. What did Mr Cunliffe know, when did he find out, and how did he find out?

“There appears to be a clear pattern of Ministerial deception around this issue and sunlight is the best disinfectant. Serious allegations were swept under the carpet and would have stayed there if the media hadn’t started asking awkward questions.”


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