Minister should be stood down over ACC dispute

Press Release – Green Party

The Green Party is calling for Government Minister Nick Smith to be stood down while a full independent investigation is conducted into his behaviour in a friend’s ACC dispute.20 March 2012

Minister should be stood down over ACC dispute

The Green Party is calling for Government Minister Nick Smith to be stood down while a full independent investigation is conducted into his behaviour in a friend’s ACC dispute.

Dr Smith used his ministerial position to advocate for a friend in her dispute with ACC, writing a letter on Government letterhead in support of her, while he was ACC Minister.

“Dr Smith should be stood down. His behaviour amounts to a fundamental breach of the Cabinet Manual,” said Green Party ACC spokesman Kevin Hague.

ACC Minister Judith Collins told Parliament today that the Privacy Commissioner would deal with any concerns over the Minister’s behaviour and that of former National Party president Michelle Boag in her investigation into the ACC mass privacy leak.

“It is misleading of the Government to suggest the Privacy Commissioner will be looking into potential issues of conflict and ministerial interference over National Party involvement in this dispute,” said Hague.

“The Privacy Commissioner is only responsible for looking into matters related to the handling of private information.

“That is an important investigation, but it doesn’t cover the serious issues around potential conflicts and abuses of ministerial influence that are clearly outside the scope of the Privacy Commissioner’s inquiry.

“The Government must establish a fully independent investigation into Minister Smith’s actions and not continue to hide behind the Privacy Commissioner’s separate inquiry.’

ENDS

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