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Minister in charge of department should go

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

12 December 2006

Minister in charge of departmental incompetence should go

It is disappointing that Damien O'Connor continues to refuse to resign despite the systemic shortfalls in Corrections that caused the death of Liam Ashley, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

"He should be taking responsibility for these disastrous systemic shortfalls.

"If just one of at least 10 mistakes committed at an operational level had not occurred, then neither would this tragedy.

"The political responsibility lies with Damien O'Connor and his chief executive to take responsibility for those mistakes.

"Damien O'Connor talks about staying on so he can oversee the changes, but the problem is that the way Corrections has been managed over the past 12 months there is no confidence that those changes will be carried out.

"In light of the fact that his department didn't ensure that prisoner handover procedures reflected changes to the law, how can the public have any confidence that he has enough control of his department to ensure they follow any new rules?

"How can this Minister, as the apex of a pyramid of incompetence, justify the fact that he will not be seeking any resignations or dismissals, least of all his own?

"What does it take for someone from his department to get fired, or for him to resign?

"He should do the right thing."

ENDS

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