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Clark must sack O’Connor over Liam Ashley fiasco

Clark must sack O’Connor over Liam Ashley fiasco

Helen Clark must show accountability and sack Damien O’Connor after the damning report into Liam Ashley’s death and the latest revelation that his killer had an affair with a prison guard, says National Party Deputy Leader Bill English.

“Corrections served up Liam Ashley to his killer through a series of blunders. Now it’s alleged in the Sunday Star Times that the killer was getting his own way with sexual favours from a Corrections staff member,” says Mr English.

“Labour’s deeply cynical attitude to this vulnerable teenager became clear on the last day of Parliament last week when it blamed Liam Ashley’s parents for their son's death.

“In not insisting on Mr O’Connor’s resignation, Helen Clark obviously decided that Liam Ashley's death mattered less to her than other lapses where ministers have been stood down for things like drink-driving, lying in the media, and assault allegations.

“A Labour prime minister who cared for the vulnerable more than political embarrassment would require an honourable resignation from Mr O’Connor.

“Helen Clark missed that opportunity last week. She has one last chance today,” says Mr English.

National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power, says Corrections and its Minister have been under pressure for 14 months in multiple areas.

“Mr O’Connor has continually proven himself to be incapable of exercising any political control over his department. The culture of his department needs to be turned on its head,” says Mr Power.

“It’s lurched from crisis to crisis for the last 14 months. The incidents vary in seriousness, but it would be difficult for the public to have confidence in Mr O’Connor to put things right following the report into the Ashley tragedy when he’s showed himself incapable of putting anything else right in his department.

“Mr O’Connor should resign immediately.”


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