Speaker misrepresents New Zealand First On Inquiry Decision

24 May 2017

The Speaker’s statement that the decision for an inquiry into Martin Matthews’ suitability as Auditor-General was unanimous was not correct, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“New Zealand First from the start asked for Martin Matthews to step down while a full independent inquiry happened.

 

“We made it clear at the Officers of Parliament Committee today that we wanted to discuss the appointment and the terms of reference as a party and with the party’s leader.

 

“This, after all, is a parliamentary appointed committee.

 

“We have not had a chance to discuss the terms of reference of the suggested Inquirer.

 

“This meeting was a last-minute event.

 

“It has the hands of the Beehive all over it.

 

“Yesterday they didn’t want a bar of it, suddenly they are ramrodding it through.

 

“There is a big effort now to damage control the situation. We don’t want a civil service and government that is trying to foreclose on this issue.

 

“We have insisted all along that Mr Matthews should stand down.

 

“It was a clear case of lack of transparency and accountability over Mr Mathews’ action around the fraud of senior manager Joanne Harrison, when she worked under him when he was CEO at the Ministry of Transport.

 

“There was ample information to show that a spotlight needed to be shone on every detail through an independent inquiry.

 

“Fraud was occurring, the person in charge did nothing till just before his departure from the ministry, and he was soon appointed to a top job.

 

“The National government sat on its hands, tried to deflect responsibility, defended Mr Matthews, and ignored the circumstances of the whistle-blowers,” says Mr Peters.