PSA calls for transparency on Auditor-General report

The New Zealand public have a right to understand the full context of Martin Matthews’ resignation as Auditor-General and the content of Sir Maarten Wevers’ report into Matthews’ suitability for the role, says the Public Service Association.

Sir Maarten Wevers’ report into Matthews’ oversight of the Ministry of Transport during his time as Chief Executive was widely expected to be released today, and to shed some much-needed light into the extensive fraud carried out by Joanne Harrison at the Ministry while Matthews was in charge. The report now appears to have been withheld given Matthews’ resignation, and a briefing document from the Officers of Parliament Committee has been provided instead.

"It’s not good enough - the role of Auditor-General is of critical importance to the running of the country, and the public need to feel that appointments to the office aren’t made lightly, especially when an elaborate fraud case like this has been hanging over the people involved," says Glenn Barclay, PSA national secretary.

"We believe that it’s in the interests of all concerned - including Mr Matthews himself - for the full report to be made public at the first possible instance."

"It’s vital that public trust in the integrity of the Office of the Auditor-General is maintained, and the reluctance to release this report could call that into question and invite all manner of speculation on the case."

"We welcome Mr Matthews’ decision to step down, and understand that he must not have done so lightly. But New Zealanders would surely like to understand his reasons for stepping down, and how much was known about this fraud case during his appointment to the role."

"Given that the Committee’s documentation will not be accessible under the Official Information Act, it’s crucial that the report is provided proactively in the interests of transparency and good governance."