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Bribery, theft, fraud no business of Ministers

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

16 May 2008

Bribery, theft, fraud, corruption – no business of Ministers

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith is confident that Ministers in the Labour Government will try to wash their hands of more serious questions levelled at the Pacific branch of the Immigration Service.

“Bribery, theft, fraud, and corruption within the Immigration Department are apparently no longer the concern of Ministers. Media reports about the number of problems within the Pacific branch are, quite frankly, alarming.”

Dr Smith says the issues within that branch have been well known for a number of years, but nothing would have been done if awkward questions hadn’t started coming the way of Ministers.

“And they’re washing their hands of it. We’re told it’s not their business if immigration policy and confidence in the department is being undermined.

“This is nonsense and every New Zealander knows that. Former Immigration Minister David Cunliffe and current Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove knew about the problems. They were fully briefed on the Mary Anne Thompson allegations and tried to sweep the issue under the carpet.

“Today, we learn that Clayton Cosgrove is asking officials to look into the status of the family members who Mary Anne Thompson helped get into New Zealand. If that is his business, why was the rest of the Oughton report none of his business?

“The excuses don’t wash. Ministers knew about the long history of problems within the Pacific branch, and would have been itching to know what had happened to the allegations levelled at Mary Anne Thompson.

“Ministers responsible for the department which was guilty of ‘lying in unison’ now appear to be trying to cover their tracks in unison.”


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