INDEPENDENT NEWS

Bingo!

Published: Thu 2 Sep 1999 12:51 AM
All five appointed members of the Lotteries Commission are current or former National Party officials or candidates, Green MP Rod Donald has discovered.
"It is unbelievably stupid of the National Party to stack the Lotteries Commission with party hacks," Mr Donald said.
"This is the worst form of cronyism. They could probably get away with one or two Nats on the commission, but all five is just outrageous."
The commission has six members: Chairman Geoff Thompson (former National Party president), Deputy Chairman Murray Hercus (former National Party southern divisional treasurer), Richard Yates (National Party northern chairman), Maureen Wilkie (National's King Country electorate agent and former electorate secretary for Jim Bolger) and Kathryn Uvhagen (National Party 1996 list candidate - no. 73) plus the Secretary for Internal Affairs, Roger Blakeley (ex officio).
Between them commission members were paid $106,000 in fees for the year to June.
"No wonder Acting State Services Minister Maurice Williamson tried to deflect attention away from the Lotteries Commission and on to the State Services Commissioner when I first exposed Chief Executive David Bale's excessive salary package," Mr Donald said.
"Now the Government has put itself in an untenable position with Prime Minister Shipley claiming the salary was excessive and today saying 'there are actually a whole lot of omissions that I have discovered as I have looked into this matter further'. The people responsible for these decisions are not only National Party appointees but are all current or former National Party officials.
"The only honourable thing these party hacks can do is resign from the commission. Either that or Prime Minister Jenny Shipley will have to shut down their gravy train to save her own government.
"How many other Crown entities and boards are stacked with National Party hacks? If the Lotteries Commission is anything to go by then this government is rotten to the core," he said.
Note: Mr Donald has question one in the House at about 2.05pm today on the Lotteries issue.
ENDS

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