Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Ombudsman Exposes Shabby Cover-up

Murray McCully National Party MP
26 February 2004

Ombudsman Exposes Shabby Cover-up

Today's Ombudsman's report into the Immigration Service exposes the internal report by the Secretary of Labour as "a shabby cover-up" and poses serious questions of those who were responsible for it, says National MP Murray McCully.

"The Ombudsman finds that the actions of officials were 'contrary to law' and 'wrong' within the context of his legislation. Those are very serious findings indeed.

"Where the Secretary of Labour found 'no evidence that officials deliberately misled the Ombudsman', the Ombudsman himself found that there was 'a deliberate attempt to avoid reference to the real information being sought', that officials knew what information was being sought by the Ombudsman and 'deliberately dissembled'.

"The report poses serious questions about those responsible for the earlier cover-up which has now been exposed," says Mr McCully.

"James Buwalda, the Secretary of Labour, who presided over the cover-up, must go. The Parliament and the public can have no confidence in a chief executive who refuses an independent inquiry, exonerates his department, and is then exposed as wrong by the Ombudsman. It was always a big call by Dr Buwalda to refuse an independent inquiry into a matter so grave. He made that call and now he must take the consequences.

"State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham on several occasions refused my request that this matter be looked at independently. Now he must be held to account for his participation in this matter.

"The Prime Minister refused to require an independent inquiry and allowed the shabby cover-up to proceed. Indeed, it is arguable that the State Services Commissioner and the Secretary of Labour made their foolish decisions because they did not want to cross the Prime Minister. The simple fact is that Helen Clark was quite content to try and sweep this matter under the carpet. Now she must account for her actions.

"The findings made by the Ombudsman in today's report are a damning verdict not just on the actions of two public servants, but on those of a department which is contemptuous of its obligations to the Parliament, the public, and the Ombudsman. That the Prime Minister, her Ministers, the State Services Commissioner and the Secretary of Labour were prepared to stand in the way of an independent inquiry reflects no credit upon them whatsoever.

"We can only be grateful that the Office of the Ombudsman exists to protect the public interest where the Prime Minister, Ministers and chief executives fail in their responsibilities to do so," says Mr McCully.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Clark Exit, Convention Centres, And The Killing Of Hachalu Hundessa

Goodbye, David Clark. In the end, the outgoing Health Minister decided that in the midst of a pandemic the best thing he could do for New Zealand would be to no longer be there – given that being there had involved hiving off on his mountain bike during a lockdown, and throwing the country’s most beloved Health bureaucrat under a bus. As Clark indicated so memorably at last week’s press conference, when it comes to managing public health risks at the border the buck stops with…that guy over there! In the aftermath of that debacle, Clark reached the same conclusion the nation had reached some time ago, that leadership just wasn’t his thing. Once again, he got on his bike.... More>>

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>


Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>


Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>


Gun Law: A New Firearms System Focused On Safety

Tougher gun laws will begin to take effect from next week following the passage of new firearms legislation through Parliament today. The Minister of Police says the Third Reading of the Arms Legislation Bill is an historic milestone for community ... More>>


Government: Building A Stronger Health And Disability System

The Government is committing to a long-term programme of reform to build a stronger New Zealand Health and Disability System that delivers for all. More>>


National: Todd Muller Announces Caucus Reshuffle

Today I am confirming a minor shadow cabinet reshuffle due to the retirement of Paula Bennett. Dr Shane Reti will be ranked number 13 and will take on Associate Drug Reform. Shane has demonstrated a huge intellect and capacity for work, supporting ... More>>

Biosecurity: Winston Peters On EU Travel: 'We're Not Going To Compromise Our Country's Health'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealanders who head to Europe on holiday should pay for their two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return. More>>

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>


Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>


Int'l Trade: New Zealand To Host Virtual APEC In 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels