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OAG report: Heads must roll

Hon Tony Ryall National Party Health Spokesman

19 December 2005

OAG report: Heads must roll

Heads must roll following the release of the Auditor-General's report on contracting within the Ministry of Health, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"This investigation reveals appalling financial management and potential for intolerable conflicts of interest," says Mr Ryall.

"The people of New Zealand can have zero confidence in the way the Ministry of Health is spending public money under a Labour Government.

"It is little wonder the health system is in such a mess if this is the way the Ministry runs things.

"This incompetence and flagrant disregard for the public's money must be stopped. Former Health Minister Annette King and Director-General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi must be held accountable for allowing this to happen. Neither has demonstrated any understanding about how dangerous this state of affairs actually is.

"Large contracts were awarded without tender. There was no monitoring of value for money. The Auditor-General says what files there were, were made up especially for his inquiry. He concluded that 'much of the expected documentation probably never existed'.

"Intolerable conflicts of interest existed, with staff working part-time for the Ministry and doing consulting contracts at the same time. The Auditor-General says the Ministry failed to follow its own Code of Practice.

"This report shows the Ministry's own internal auditor called for urgent changes two years earlier, but to no avail.

"I have this afternoon written to the Speaker calling for a special parliamentary debate on this report when Parliament resumes next year," says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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