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Minister Hides Serious Allegations For Months

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

30 April 2008 - National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove has kept serious claims levelled at a top official secret for months, and his predecessor probably knew too.

"Mr Cosgrove admits that he was briefed before Christmas on the serious allegations made against a top official, yet when he was initially asked about the claims and subsequent inquiry he declared it was an 'operational matter'.

"Mr Cosgrove, and most likely his predecessor David Cunliffe, kept those serious allegations hidden until members of the media started asking the right questions.

"Had the right questions not been asked, I expect the allegations against one of the country's most senior immigration officials would still be a secret today.

"Why didn't the Minster order a proper inquiry when he found out rather than waiting for months? Why has it taken a week of public pressure for the Minister to ask for a wider inquiry into claims that senior managers were pressuring staff to approve particular immigration applications?"

Dr Smith says Mr Cosgrove must ask the State Services Commission to reveal what Ministers knew and when.

"He must also release the terms of reference. Almost every inquiry Labour orders is repeated, because inevitably, the first investigation fails to get all the facts.

"It's all very well for Mr Cosgrove to call for a wide ranging inquiry, but precisely what does the Minister expect to be covered? Will he give an undertaking to release an unedited version of the SSC report, and when can we expect it?

"The Minister appears to be treating this whole issue with casual disregard. These are very serious allegations that cut to the heart of public confidence in our Immigration Service. He should treat them with the urgency they deserve."

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