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Auditor-General’s Armstrong report welcomed

19 December 2003 Media Statement

Auditor-General’s report welcomed

The Auditor-General has today released a report on expenses incurred by Dr Ross Armstrong during his tenure as Chairperson of Television New Zealand, New Zealand Post, and Industrial Research Limited.

The report finds that standards of documentation and reporting within the three entities should have been higher, and that Dr Armstrong was at times overpaid.

Minister of Broadcasting Steve Maharey and Minister for State Owned Enterprises Mark Burton are today welcoming the report, saying that lessons had been learned by all three organisations.

“This report covers events that happened between one and four years ago. While it shows that reporting processes could have been more robust at the time, procedures have been strengthened to prevent a similar incident occurring again,” said Steve Maharey.

“It is reassuring to see confirmation that Dr Armstrong did not act dishonestly, and that he has made full reimbursements.”

Mark Burton noted that he had written to all SOE Boards following Dr Armstrong’s resignation in late 2002, reminding them that proper procedures must be in place for the approval of all Directors’ expenses.

“This government does not tolerate extravagance. Today’s report provides an object lesson on the importance for all SOEs to adhere to procedures for reimbursement of any and all expenses.

“It is also, of course, an illustration of how important it is for individual Directors to be vigilant in their record-keeping.”

Both ministers indicated that the government would study the report carefully to see if there are any further lessons to be learned.

ENDS

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