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Dalziel Inquiry: Terms of Reference Released


Terms of Reference: Inquiry into actions of employees of Immigration Service and Parliamentary Service

Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into actions of employees of Immigration Service and Parliamentary Service

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, today released the Terms of Reference for his inquiry into actions of employees of the Immigration Service and the Parliamentary Service.

Mr Wintringham has appointed Christopher Toogood, QC to lead the inquiry.

The Commissioner's Terms of Reference for the inquiry are attached.

"While the inquiry is under way, I will make no further comment on this matter," Mr Wintringham said.

Inquiry into actions of employees of Immigration Service and Parliamentary Service Terms of Reference

Background

An annotated copy of a letter dated 27 June 2003 from the Refugee Status Appeals Authority to Marshall Bird & Curtis, Solicitors (attention: Ms C Curtis), was released to the media on 16 February 2004 by the press secretary to the (then) Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel. The letter originally enclosed copies of the Authority's decision on appeals by two of Ms Curtis' clients.

The annotations on the copy of the letter released, which Ms Curtis says that she made for her client(s) were:

* A list of possible further avenues through which her clients might seek redress; and

* A drawing of a guinea pig.

* It is unclear how a copy of the annotated letter reached the Electorate Office for the Member of Parliament for Mount Albert, from where the letter was sent to the Minister of Immigration.

* Inquiry

* The Prime Minister has asked the State Services Commissioner to investigate the involvement of any officials of the Immigration Service or the Parliamentary Service (ie in her Mount Albert Electorate Office) in the handling of the letter and its transmission to the Minister of Immigration.

* In respect of the Parliamentary Service, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has made the necessary formal request for a review to the State Services Commissioner under clause 15 of the Schedule 1 of the Parliamentary Service Act 2000.

* Terms of reference

* The object of the inquiry is to establish:

*

* The circumstances in which any employee of the Immigration Service or of the Parliamentary Service handled or obtained a copy of the annotated letter;

* Actions taken in respect of the copy of the letter by any such employee;

* The involvement, if any, of any such employee in the passing of the letter to any party, including the Electorate Office for the member of Parliament for Mount Albert, and/or in transmission of the letter to the Minister of Immigration.

The State Services Commissioner, acting under section 25(2) of the State Sector Act 1988, will appoint Christopher Toogood QC to carry out the investigation on his behalf.

Under section 25 of the State Sector Act, the Commissioner and persons he appoints under section 25(2) of the State Sector Act have the same powers to summon witnesses and to receive evidence as are conferred on a Commission of Inquiry by the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908. Timing The Commissioner's intention is that the inquiry be completed by 19 March 2004.

Michael Wintringham - State Services Commissioner

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