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Ministerial Inquiry investigates everything but the Minister

The Ministerial Inquiry into the waiver granted to a Malaysian diplomat deliberately avoids putting the Minister under scrutiny, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer.

“The Ministerial Inquiry investigates everything except the roles of the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister. They were both briefed soon after charges were yet they failed to follow up.

“The terms of reference have been deliberately crafted in a narrow way to avoid any examination of Murray McCully’s role in this debacle.

“The Government is using this inquiry to play for time. It’s about getting Mr McCully off the hook and the issue out of the news agenda as we head into the heat of the election campaign.

“There is no timeline for when the report should be finished – in other words, after the election.

“New Zealanders expect the buck to stop at the top. Sadly the outcome is predictable. It is likely to find a low-level official to blame and recommend changes to protocols.

“The Inquiry is also a missed opportunity to take a deeper look at the dysfunction created within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Murray McCully’s heavy-handed restructuring.

“This has had a serious impact on morale and has clearly damaged the lines of communication within the Ministry and to the Minister and Prime Minister at the very top.

“Under Murray McCully’s leadership, confidence and trust in our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been eroded,” said David Shearer.