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Tuesday, August 5

Immigration Service in Jeopardy -Nationals says

As the government intensified the promotion of New Zealand as Tourism Destination, The New Zealand Immigration Service confidence has been damaged due to allegations of murk.

This was according to National's Immigration spokesman Dr. Lockwood smith during the parliament session in Wellington city.

Dr Smith is commenting on media reports that the executive assistant to the Service International Group Manager, Kerupi Tavita, has been convicted of multiple counts of fraud totalling $30,000.

Smith said a Buddle Findlay investigation found that soon after his appointment,Mr. Tavita authorized a $400 gift to himself- a clear contravention of department policy.

"Buddle Findlay's investigation found that despite signing Ms Malaulau up to a $1,000-a-day contract, including all expenses, Mr Tavita then authorised expense payments to Ms Lalaulau.

"Media reports suggest that Mr Tavita did not question the claims submitted by his executive assistant, including for international travel, luxury accommodation, and for a flat screen TV and DVD player.

"At best, this seems to show careless use of taxpayer money by very senior officials. All government departments must be prudent managers of the public purse.

"This is a department beset by scandal. Last year's Oughton inquiry into apparently unlawful decision-making revealed that staff were signing off applications 'as instructed by' where they considered government policy was being breached.

"Following on from the Oughton inquiry and the Mary Anne Thompson scandal, it's clear a new management culture is needed within the Immigration Service."


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