Aug 30, 2008

Call For Independent Commission Of Inquiry Into Scampi Scandal

As well as making serious allegations of a dirty deal between the PM and Peters in her column today in the NZ Herald Fran O'Sullivan calls for an independent commission of inquiry into the scampi scandal.

She should also announce an independent commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption in the scampi industry which persist years after a select committee investigation hit rocks.
Act leader Rodney Hide's allegations in Parliament this week that NZ First was paid cash by Simunovich Fisheries after Peters made corruption claims against it cannot be left dangling.
The SFO's Liddell says that on the basis of the information now available he does not have a basis for using statutory powers to inquire into allegations that there was an attempt corruptly to influence the select committee inquiry into the allocation of scampi quota.
The SFO is not the right body to examine such claims. Nothing short of a full public inquiry headed by a High Court judge is needed.
Clark should appoint such a commission then call the election.

We don't often disagree with Fran, but on this one we do. We need to go further. We need a new institution, an Independent Commission Against Corruption with wide powers like that in Hong Kong. We have corruption in our system at central and local Government level and we need to stamp it out. This should be an election issue. Both Labour and National should pledge their support for this new institution.

Likewise both Labour and National should pledge to review our libel laws. It is a disgrace that, as in Singapore, these are able to be used to gag opponents and stop the truth coming out. Those who bring a case and lose it should have full costs, including all those of the defence awarded against them.