NZ Immigration Service: Full & open inquiry needed

A new chapter has opened in the revelations of misdoings in the NZ Immigration Service. Today we learn that Mary Ann Thompson, IS head until this week, lied when applying for at least some of the positions she has held over the best part of two decades in the Public Service. She claimed a PhD from the prestigious London School of Economics, of which there is no record.

As the Minister responsible for the IS has said, this is an operational matter. He’s absolutely right.

Some have suggested that this is a deliberate diversion by the Government from the growing scandal, but there is no evidence of conspiracy. Convenient as it looks, it’s very common, when suspicions are aroused, to go back and look at what’s on the CV. Should this development be used to divert attention from the real problems, it is most likely opportunism.

But it does begin to look as though some would like to brush the questions about the culture and processes in the IS under the carpet. Announcing Thompsom’s departure to staff a few days ago, Labour Department chief Christopher Blake said, “While this decision brings a degree of closure to these matters, I expect public scrutiny will continue around this and wider organisational issues.”

Wrong. Thompson’s hurried exit brings no closure, and further public scrutiny is imperative.

The burning issue is not whether or not Thompson showed poor judgement in getting involved in her relative’s visa applications. Forget Thompson. It is the lax organisational culture that allowed managers to pressure their staff to override correct procedures.

An independent report last month revealed that when ordered to make decisions they felt breached policy, officials wrote “as instructed by” to protect themselves. “Difficult” cases were passed around staff until someone was found who would do what was wanted.

This glimpse of possible systematic undermining of policy warrants a full and open enquiry. Nothing less will restore public confidence in the system. The public interest demands it.

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2 Responses to “NZ Immigration Service: Full & open inquiry needed”

  1. Godfather Says:

    Wow, great post!

    Godfather (theslowbleed.com)

  2. jafapete Says:

    Hey, thanks Godfather. Looked up your blog and enjoyed it too. I suspect that you meant to refer to the End Game post. Since I have discovered I have American readers, I will add post on the US election. Also, I’m starting a sweepstake on Hillary’s withdrawal. Cheers P

    PS Just in case you thought it was the USIS, I’ve altered the heading to avoid further confusion. Still learning the tricks…

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