English Should Stand Down Matthews Immediately

If the government is responsible for the government machine and places so much store on it as the Prime Minister claimed in parliament today then he should stand down Auditor-General Martin Matthews immediately, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Mr English claimed Mr Matthews’ appointment as Auditor-General was part of a parliamentary process and his government took no responsibility for malpractices at the Ministry of Transport.

“Yet he contradicted himself saying they had responsibility for the government machine.

“Mr Matthews is part of that government machine and serious concerns exist over his time as Chief Executive at the Ministry of Transport when he mishandled the case of his crooked senior manager Joanne Harrison who defrauded the ministry of $750,000 and drove people out of their jobs.

“There were as many red flags flying at the ministry as you would see in a Kremlin march past, but Mr Matthews failed repeatedly to see any of them.

“He also approved Harrison conducting an investigation at the Department of Conservation after she had already been suspected of fraud.

“Mr English says his department and the State Services Commission have already made an investigation. If that’s true, they are incompetent.

“The public has the right to expect greater accountability and transparency from senior public servants.

“Mr Matthews should be stood down until a proper independent investigation is completed into the ministry’s handling of the case,” says Mr Peters.