INDEPENDENT NEWS

Audit report shadows McCardle's farewell

Published: Fri 8 Oct 1999 03:55 PM
The Auditor-General's report on Work and Income NZ's chartered plane extravaganza is the skeleton in departing minister Peter McCardle's closet, says Labour social welfare spokesperson Steve Maharey.
"The delay in tabling the report meant Peter McCardle could give his valedictory speech today without having to explain Winz's culture of extravagance. How convenient for him."
The Office of the Controller and Auditor-General is expected to indicate today when it will table its report on Winz's use of charter planes to fly senior managers to a Wairakei conference in June.
Winz spent $165,000 getting 105 people to Wairakei on a mixture of chartered and commercial flights.
"Although the Office of the Auditor-General initially aimed to table the report on Tuesday, which would have enabled questions about it in Parliament, the release has been delayed by some of those being consulted on the draft.
"I think many New Zealanders will find it suspiciously convenient for the Government and Mr McCardle that Parliament has been denied the chance to debate this report.
A report by former Chief Ombudsman Sir John Robertson on the performance of Winz chief executive Christine Rankin in relation to the chartered aircraft affair and other matters is also being withheld, by State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham. Labour has asked for an Ombudsman's review of that refusal.
"Parliament might have been denied the chance to question the Government about how Winz got away with it. But they can't hide forever."

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