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Commission of Inquiry must have bipartisan support

The Labour Party is drafting terms of reference for a Commission of Inquiry, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says.

“It is abundantly clear there is a need for an independent Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a High Court Judge, into practices in Ministerial offices.

“That inquiry should go further than consideration of criminal conduct and should include:

  • practices including third parties being given preferential access to official documents in order to advance political interests
  • whether it was proper for taxpayer funded ministerial staff such as Jason Ede to access and orchestrate the use of      information from the Labour Party computer system 
  • avoidance of the Official Information Act through the use of anonymous and dynamic (ie changing) computer and email      addresses
  • misuse of official information obtained by ministerial offices from government departments
  • whether advice a Minister (including the Prime Minister) received from the Cabinet Office which was used to assert it had exonerated contentious ministerial conduct, should be able to be suppressed

“Democracy relies upon its reputation with the public. Public confidence is needed to maintain democratic institutions and the rule of law. This in turn rests upon transparency and freedom from corruption.

“The public must find out what has been going on inside the Beehive.

“To restore confidence in New Zealand’s political system, there should be cross party support for the terms of reference. I intend to circulate the draft terms of reference to all parties currently represented in parliament this afternoon,” David Parker says.