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Minister has work to do over Xmas

Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.

“The report paints a farcical scenario of how a complete lack of communication across government agencies allowed Smith to apply for and receive a passport in a name he hadn’t used since he was a child.

“It highlights deficiencies in identity information available to the criminal justice system and poor management of what identity information is currently available within the system.

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga and his ministerial colleagues will need to do some heavy spade work over Christmas to resolve this.

“That should include looking at ways to share or match identity information around proven and potential aliases, how to link anchor identities with other identities when people enter the criminal and corrections systems and how to improve processes for notifying Customs about certain people so that border alerts can be placed against offenders.

“Obviously this means additional ICT investment will be required. New Zealanders need to be kept informed of what that means in terms of capability, capacity, infrastructure and cost requirements, as well as any legislative changes that might be necessary,” Kelvin Davis said.