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WINZ chief executive not up to the job, say Greens

The Auditor-General's report into the $165,000 WINZ plane charter shows WINZ chief executive Christine Rankin was not doing her job properly, Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald said today.

The report says the expenses incurred in holding the course at the Wairakei Resort Hotel were excessive and that a series of miscommunications and mistakes led to a plane being chartered to get staff to the conference. It says there was an inappropriate "secretive flavour" in the chartering of aircraft.

"The investigation highlights that the venue suggested by Ms Rankin was the fundamental mistake in this sorry saga," Mr Donald said.

The report also concludes that despite Ms Rankin being involved in arrangements for the course on at least two occasions this "did not result in the overall error being averted".

If Ms Rankin had been doing her job properly she would have instantly recognised that the cost of the Wairakei conference was way over the top, given that two previous WINZ conferences had cost $80,000 and $83,000, around half the price of the plane charter alone, Mr Donald said.

"Christine Rankin should spend more time at her desk fixing the weaknesses in the department's systems identified by the audit office as contributing to the problem."

Mr Donald said he was disappointed that due to irreconciliable versions of events the report did not reach a strong conclusion.

"However the bottom line is that Ms Rankin chose the dates and the venue for the conference. She was twice made aware before the conference that a plane was being chartered. She should have known the expenditure was excessive. Yet she chose to proceed. That all shows she is not up to her job," Mr Donald said.

Rod Donald: 025 507 183, 03 366 3292 (h)

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