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Politically Correct Civil Servants Overrule On HIV


26 October 1999

Gael Donoghue
Health Spokesperson


“Who is running the Government – the civil servant bureaucrats or the warranted Ministers of the Crown?” asks Gael Donoghue, Health spokesperson for the Christian Heritage Party. She was commenting on the recent difficulties experienced by Immigration Minister, Tuariki Delamere, with civil servant officials obstructing him from getting cabinet approval to test immigrants and refugees for AIDS.

Apparently the Justice and Crown Law Office are suggesting it is a breach of the Bill of Rights if we refuse Africans or Asians. Mr Delamere said he originally suggested vetting only refugees for AIDS, but National was very keen to extend it to all immigrants. Mr Delamere suspects the officials’ delaying tactics are to do with the coming election.

Mrs Donoghue says, “It is frankly amazing and disturbing to think that officials in the Ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs, Trade, Justice, Social Service and Departments of Labour and Internal Affairs can oppose their superiors who they are supposed to be accountable to.”

“One cannot expect Ministers to be held accountable for their Departments, if the officials will not willingly take instructions from their respective Minister.

“It is no comfort to know that a ‘revised’ paper is being put to Cabinet on 1 November. Immigrants are already tested for such conditions as Tuberculosis and Cardiovascular disease, so why go coy on AIDS?” asks Mrs Donoghue.

“Is it the lifestyle associated with the usual cause of this terminal disease that is causing such sensitivity amongst the civil servants? Surely the major purpose in testing immigrants and refugees is to protect the community from killer diseases and prevent the spread of these to others.

“It seems the ‘tail may be wagging the dog’, when officials believe they know better than their Minister who is at least accountable to the voting public every three years,” concluded Mrs Donoghue.

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