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The Platform: Sean Plunket & Ani O’Brien on the Mahuta family influence – 27/06/2022 – Sean Plunket Updates


Sean Plunket gives an update on the Mahuta saga – a summation of earlier issues is here

As previously, questions that need addressing, by the various parties, include, but are not limited to:

1 Did Mahuta comply fully, both as to the spirit as well as the letter of Cabinet Manual requirements

2 Were any hand offs by Mahuta to appropriate persons? Who determined the appropriateness of the hand off?

3 Are the Mahuta family members appointed to boards, working parties, consultancies appropriately qualified for those roles? Who reviewed the qualifications? Was the reviewer appropriately experienced and independent?

4 Is it appropriate that relatives of a Minister play key roles in areas that fall within major areas of that Minister’s responsibility? I would suggest not? Is it appropriate that the spouse/partner of a Minister or senior official should provide consulting services to the government of which his/her spouse/partner is a Minister or senior official?

5 Is it appropriate that one family should appear to have such a disproportionate influence?

6 Should one family member, no matter how competent, hold multiple roles eg Mahuta’s sister?

7 What was the appointment process followed for each role or activity? Did the process comply with best practice?

8 Were the appointments competitive? Where the appointments involved consultancy were others asked to tender? On what basis was the successful party selected?

9 Was any party consulted for advice on any of the matters encompassed by the questions above, or indeed on any aspect of the Mahuta clan appointments/involvements? If not, why not – given the circumstances and the probability that perception, if not reality might be negative? If yes, which third parties were consulted? Why were those parties chosen for consultation? What was the nature of the advice, if any, given?

10 Specifically, was the Cabinet Office consulted? If not, why not? what was the nature of their advice if any?

11 Was any advice sought from the Prime Minister or her staff? What was the nature of the advice sought? What was the content of the advice given?

12 Why has the MSM not taken any apparent interest in this story, especially given their reaction to Judith Collins Oravida visit, and the massive involvement of the Mahuta clan in matters within the Minister’s purview?

13 Is there any evidence that receiving monies from the Public Interest Journalism Fund has caused MSM to withhold comment?

14 Given the nature of the various matters raised should the appointment of an independent party to review the issue be an essential consideration? If an independent party with broad terms of reference is not appointed, what is the reasoning for such an appointment not being made.

The above list may well need expansion. Indeed the list has been expanded since first drafted to reflect further consideration.


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