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Immigration probe had focus on policy

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

15 May 2008

Immigration probe had focus on policy

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says Labour's claim that the inquiry into unlawful decisions at the Immigration Service was just an employment matter has been shot to bits.

"Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove revealed during questioning in Parliament today, that the previously secret Oughton report included a focus on whether the service was complying with the Government's residence policy.

"That means this report was not just an operational matter, and would have certainly been of significant interest to the Minister in charge at the time.

"Furthermore, the current Immigration Minister, Clayton Cosgrove, has admitted that both he and the previous Immigration Minister, David Cunliffe, were fully briefed on the Oughton report.

"It absolutely beggars belief that having been fully briefed, neither Minister chose to do anything about it until the media got wind of it.

"Any read of the Oughton report, even the heavily censored version that was eventually released publicly, shows these were serious allegations which cut to the heart of the enforcement of immigration policy.

"Labour Ministers are dancing on the head of a pin. They did nothing until awkward questions started being asked."

Clayton Cosgrove told Parliament today, 'in April the member (David Cunliffe) was briefed and latterly in respect of the report'.

"So here we have a situation where Ministers were fully briefed and did nothing. We have a situation where Ministers sat on their hands until the questions started coming.

"Immigration policy is vital to New Zealand because so many Kiwis are leaving. These Labour Ministers appear to have abdicated responsibility for it."


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