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PSA welcomes Dept of Labour response

PSA MEDIA RELEASE October 3, 2008 For Immediate Use

PSA welcomes Dept of Labour response to SSC investigation

The PSA welcomes the Department of Labour's response to the State Services Commission investigation on how the department handled residency applications involving family members of the former head of Immigration New Zealand, Mary Anne Thompson.

Ms Thompson resigned as the head of the Immigration NZ in May. This was after it was revealed that in 2005 she was involved in applications for residency in New Zealand by family members from Kiribati.

In May the PSA commended Ms Thompson for making the decision to resign. The union also welcomed the SSC inquiry as we hoped this would clarify what happened and lead to steps being taken so the public could continue to have trust in Immigration NZ.

"We're pleased to see that the investigation was very thorough and has established what occurred in this case," says Brenda Pilott, National Secretary of the PSA which has more than 1100 members working at the Department of Labour.

The inquiry found that Ms Thompson failed to appropriately manage conflicts of interest relating to immigration matters involving her family. It also found that there were deficiencies in the way the department dealt with the situation partly because Ms Thompson did not tell her manager about the details of her involvement in her family's immigration matters.

"We agree with the department's chief executive, Christopher Blake, that Ms Thompson's behavior was completely unacceptable," says Brenda Pilott.

"And we welcome the steps Mr Blake has made to addressing the issues about the department's performance raised by the investigation."

Brenda Pilott says the PSA is pleased that Mr Blake has implemented a programme of change aimed at making Immigration NZ a modern, world-leading immigration service.

"We will be watching this programme very closely and are ready and willing to work with the department to achieve that goal," says Brenda Pilott.

She says it's essential that Immigration NZ staff feel free to raise any work concerns they have and that these concerns are taken seriously by their management and acted on.

"It's also essential that the public trust Immigration NZ to treat ever one fairly and equally,' says Brenda Pilott.

"We're pleased to see that the State Services Commission and the Department of Labour will be working together to ensure that we have an immigration service that people trust."

ENDS

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