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Immigration: Anonymous letter raises red flag

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

17 June 2008

Immigration: Anonymous letter raises red flag

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says an anonymous letter from an immigration officer raises yet more corruption concerns within the troubled department.

“Labour Ministers have tried to tell us there’s been no corruption in the department since 2002/03. They know differently.”

Dr Smith says the letter alleges that ‘there is an ingrained culture with the managers where they are more concerned about the volume of applications that staff can finalise than they are concerned about the risk some overseas applicants pose to New Zealand’.

The letter also says the managers ‘either verbally, or through emails will pressure staff to achieve higher work targets’ and that it is ‘far quicker and easier for staff to approve an application than it is to decline it’.

“These are allegations among the most serious ever made against a Government department. They point to a culture where Government policy is not being followed.

“These same issues were raised in the previously secret Oughton report. Ministers Clayton Cosgrove and David Cunliffe both said that report highlighted operational matters that did not concern the Minister.

“They were wrong.”

Dr Smith says it beggars belief that, with such a culture of dishonesty and the string of offences that staff have been found guilty of, no Minister in nine years has noticed.

“This sort of cavalier approach to the administration of our borders is deeply troubling. Mr Cosgrove needs to say if he plans to take any more immediate action, or if he just plans to wait and see what the reviews of Immigration turn up.”



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