The Auditor-General’s report into the Yang Liu affair is extremely damning of the way Shane Jones handled the issue, and calls into question David Shearer’s judgment in reinstating him to Labour’s front bench, Acting Prime Minister Bill English says.
“Within minutes of the report being tabled in Parliament this afternoon, we have David Shearer rushing out and reinstating Shane Jones,” he says.
“I can almost understand his haste, given the calibre of his caucus and his desire to keep David Cunliffe on the backbench. But it flies in the face of the Auditor-General’s conclusions about Mr Jones’ handling of Mr Liu’s citizenship application.”
For example, on page 66 of the report, the Auditor-General says of Mr Jones: “In our view, given that he knew there were ongoing investigations by Immigration and the New Zealand Police, he should also have consulted them before making his decision, as the investigators note of the first meeting suggested he was intending to do.”
And on page 67, the report continues: “The decision to approve an urgent private ceremony, following so closely the decision to authorise the grant of citizenship against the recommendation of officials, caused a degree of consternation among the department’s staff. It added to the impression that Mr Liu was receiving special treatment.”
“Despite the criticism by the Auditor-General, David Shearer is now standing behind Shane Jones,” Mr English says.
“This is just a few weeks after he demanded the Government stop the Sky City Convention Centre project because of an Auditor-General’s report. He should look in his own party’s backyard first.”