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Inquiries Don't Go Far Enough, Say Greens

Press Release
20 July 1999

Inquiries don't go far enough, say Greens

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald says he is pleased that the State Services Commission has been asked to investigate spending authorised by WINZ' Chief Executive Christine Rankin on management conferences but would like that inquiry and a separate Audit Office one to have wider terms of reference.

"I'm pleased the Government has acted on my call for a wide-ranging inquiry into WINZ spending but I believe all aspects of WINZ' performance should be investigated," said Rod Donald.

"Both the State Services Commission and Audit Office inquiries need to look beyond the conferences to include spending on advertising and office refurbishments.

"I also stand by my call for Christine Rankin to be suspended, pending the outcome of these inquiries. It is important for staff to be able to come forward with what they know without fear of recrimination.

"We need to end the corporate culture of extravagance which has led to millions of dollars being spent on mock wedding breakfasts, roadshows, corporate videos, new wardrobes (made overseas), rebranding offices and advertisements defending WINZ' poor performance.

"The Government should also be investigating why WINZ is not meeting its own key performance targets in job placement, community work programmes, reducing the proportion of Maori unemployed and reducing the number of long-term unemployed.

"These failures to perform highlight management's predilection for style over substance. It's time for the Ministers in charge, Roger Sowry and Peter McCardle, to either put their collective feet down or step aside," he said.

ENDS

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