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Immigration Scandal-Update 5-DomPost Editorial

08/05/2008

The Dominion Post editorial this morning is on the Mary Anne Thompson affair and the failings at the Labour Department and in the Immigration Service.

The editorial begins:-

By releasing a heavily censored version of a previously secret report on the Immigration Service, the Labour Department thought it was assuaging public concern about one of its divisions, The Dominion Post writes. It was not.

The leader then details several aspects of the affair, focussing very much on Dr Thompson’s actions in respect of her family, rather than a number of the other actions detailed in earlier articles.

The concluding paragraphs:-

A subsequent inquiry by former justice secretary David Oughton found Dr Thompson’s relatives had been given preferential treatment. A Manukau staff member was disciplined but no action was taken against Dr Thompson because Mr Oughton concluded she had not tried to influence the way her relatives’ applications were dealt with in Auckland.

The department considers that the end of the matter. The State Services Commission, which is investigating, has rightly decided it is not.

The case raises questions about Dr Thompson’s conduct, the conduct of the staff member who ordered that the residency applications be processed, the culture within the Immigration Service, Dr Thompson’s bosses and the adequacy of the inquiry itself.

Put bluntly, it is not acceptable for public servants to use their positions to advance personal or family interests. Nor is it acceptable for senior public servants to leave doubt in the minds of staff about their intentions when personal or family interests are involved.

Dr Thompson should have refused to play any part in her relatives’ bid to come to this country and, when her connections became known, she should have made it explicitly clear to staff that their application was to be treated on its merits just as every other application should be.

By failing to do so she has damaged her reputation and public confidence in the Immigration Service.

To restore it, public service bosses have no choice but to take drastic action. If they do not, service staff will continue to wonder about what a nod or wink from the chief executive means and migrants will continue to suspect that it is not what you know but who you are related to that matters in New Zealand.

The Inquiring Mind is firmly of the opinion that the points made in this paragraph of the editorial:-

The case raises questions about Dr Thompson’s conduct, the conduct of the staff member who ordered that the residency applications be processed, the culture within the Immigration Service, Dr Thompson’s bosses and the adequacy of the inquiry itself.

Are absolutely critical, these must be followed up and answered in a complete manner, not in a Sir Humphrey Appleby manner, as unfortuantely appears to be the case in recent times.

The inquiry must address also the questions over the appointments of staff and the potential conflicts of interest some of Thompson’s appointees appear to have as noted in prior newspaper articles and analysed in prior posts at the Inquiring Mind.

Adam’s previous posts on this matter are listed here:

Immigration Scandal

Update 1

Update 2

Update 3

Update 4

The concluding phrases of the highlighted comments above are perhaps the most important, from Adam’s perspective:-

  • the culture within the Immigration Service,
  • Dr Thompson’s bosses and
  • the adequacy of the inquiry itself.
  • These strike to the heart of the matter. These issues must be addressed, especially the conduct of Dr Thompson’s bosses and the way in which inquiries are conducted.

    SEE ALSO:-

    UPDATE NUMBER 7

    UPDATE NUMBER 9

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