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Report highlights 'open secrets' at Immigration

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

3 October 2008

Report highlights 'open secrets' at Immigration

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says the first of four reports into scandalous decisions and behaviour at the Immigration Service has shed more light on how events unfolded.

"The report raises wider questions about the culture within that department over a much longer period of time. It raises questions about how many other open secrets there are floating around internally.

"This is the same department that was mired in the 'lying in unison' scandal, and the Taito Phillip Field affair.

"This is a department that has had a catalogue of failures. After nine years of the Labour Government it's hard to accept the tired old line that they've fixed the problems and are moving on. We've heard that before.

"What I struggle to understand is why so many people raised the alarm about the conflicts of interest but no one followed them up. I remain sceptical that information did not find its way back to the Beehive."

Dr Smith says further reports on matters connected to the scandal will shed more light on who knew what, when.

"Today's report reveals that the Department of Labour failed to effectively investigate concerns that were raised by a large number of people and that the response was inadequate.

"The scope of the initial Oughton inquiry was criticised for not being wide enough. This is the same report that Labour Ministers initially tried to argue had dealt with all the problems. Clearly, they were wrong."

Dr Smith says the SSC did not inquire into details of what Ministers were told and when, nor did it examine the SSC's prior knowledge of, or responses to, any of the matters falling within their investigation. Both matters have been left to the Auditor-General.

"It's time to draw a line under these sorts of confidence-sapping scandals. This government department is in desperate need of a fresh start under a new administration."

ENDS

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