New Zealand First Releases New Information On The Joanne Harrison Affair

New Official Information Act answers raise fresh questions about Joanne Harrison affair, says New Zealand First.

“Before Ms Harrison’s serious offending came to light, Mr Matthews Ministry had offered her dubious services to three other departments,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“While we knew she was approved to ‘investigate’ employment matters at the Department of Conservation we have an issue with a file note that Mr Matthews provided to the State Services Commission.

“If, as Mr Matthews apparently file-noted on 26 April 2016 and in a letter to Ms Harrison dated 27 April 2016, that he’d briefed the Kensington Swan Partner she was working with at DoC, why did that Partner email the final report to DoC on 2 May copying-in Ms Harrison?

“An Employment Law Partner, of all people, would know what an ‘employment investigation’ means.  And, if as Mr Matthews told the State Services Commission this was so that the Partner could brief DoC, then there’s no sign of that in DoC’s OIA up to 22 May 2016.

“And when the Kensington Swan Partner emailed the final report, he would surely be less inclined to use words like “our report” and “we are happy to”? Certainly, DoC was seemingly unaware on 3 May 2016 when its head of Human Resources hit ‘reply to all,’ including Ms Harrison.

“As there was no apparent ‘bounce’ or ‘out of office’ message, who was reading Joanne Harrison’s emails at the Ministry of Transport given the privacy of the DoC staff involved?  

“But there’s more.  Ms Harrison sat on a recruitment panel for Statistics New Zealand  in January 2013 and must have turned some heads, because in July 2013, she was promoted to become the Ministry for Transport’s General Manager Organisational Development.

“And in late 2014, between October and December, this fraudster was brought into the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to provide ‘mentoring support’.  You cannot make this up.

“Our experience with Mr Matthews’ as Auditor-General saw us get a brush-off on Fuji Xerox’s contracts with the Government that thankfully that has now changed.  We also have information raising important questions during his time as CEO of Culture and Heritage,” says Mr Peters.