INDEPENDENT NEWS

ACT Calls For Inquiry Into Durie & Hall Allegation

Published: Fri 30 Jul 1999 12:19 AM
ACT Deputy Leader Hon Ken Shirley is today calling for an urgent inquiry into serious allegations against High Court Judge & Chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal, Justice Eddie Durie and his lawyer wife, Donna Hall.
"The allegation that the Chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal prepared legal briefs for his lawyer wife to the Tribunal is very, very serious.
"It would be intolerable to accept that the Chairman of the Tribunal, who is also the husband of Donna Hall, actively participated in the preparation of some of those cases.
"The allegations are possibly the most serious ever made against the integrity of the New Zealand judiciary and potentially they cut to the heart of governance and democracy in New Zealand. ACT New Zealand is extremely concerned by these allegations.
"If the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary is to be upheld then Chief Justice Elias and the Attorney General Sir Douglas Graham must satisfy themselves that there is no substance to these claims. If there is found to be substance to these allegations then the Chief Justice and Attorney General must reveal the depth of their knowledge and explain why Justice Durie was appointed a High Court Judge.
Questions were being raised about the working relationship of Judge Durie and Donna Hall as far back as 1992. Those questions lead to a confidential inquiry conducted by Retired High Court Judge, Sir Peter Quilliam.
"I am asking the Doug Graham to make public the terms of reference and findings of the Inquiry into this relationship.
"It is my understanding that Judge Durie offered his resignation to the Attorney General at the time of the Quilliam Inquiry. I am seeking confirmation or denial from the Attorney General but if my understanding is correct, then the public should know the basis for that offer of resignation and the reasons by Sir Douglas Graham did not accept it at that time.
"I am also seeking the public disclosure of the various confidential reviews that have been undertaken into the operation and procedures of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust including the $150,000 review in which it is alleged Judge Durie participated with Donna Hall even though he was Chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal which recommends the distribution of rental proceeds from this Trust. Of the $200 plus million accumulated in this Trust some $44 million has been spent on Waitangi Tribunal claims" said Ken Shirley.
ENDS

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