AG report needs better explanation - ex-PM

  • 09/08/2017
Former auditor-general Martin Matthews.
Former auditor-general Martin Matthews.

Pressure is mounting on Speaker David Carter to explain why a report on the behaviour of the former auditor-general Martin Matthews won't be publicly released.

Former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer said on Wednesday he had a "lingering unease" about events that led to the report on Mr Matthews' handling of the Joanne Harrison fraud case when he was head of the Ministry of Transport.

The report, by Sir Maarten Wevers, was kept secret by a "unanimous" parliamentary committee vote after Mr Matthews resigned as auditor-general.

Sir Geoffrey told RNZ he was keeping an open mind about why parties had unanimously agreed not to publish the report, though NZ First has objected to the unanimous finding after MP Ron Mark withdrew his support for the decision.

"What I do think we're entitled to is a better explanation as to why that decision was made than we have had," Sir Geoffrey said.

"I feel that this has very important implications because of the great importance of this office and the importance of integrity in our public finances."

In her valedictory speech to parliament on Tuesday night, Labour MP Sue Moroney, whose efforts helped highlight Ms Harrison's fraud, called on the Speaker to publicly release the report.

"It is the best way to move forward and learn the detailed lessons our public service needs to have the benefit of," she said.

She also offered advice to future parliaments.

"If you have to go to the serious fraud office to satisfy yourselves about the person you're about to appoint as Auditor-General, then they are almost certainly the wrong person for the job," she said.

NZ First leader Winston Peters and the Taxpayers Union have both also called for the report to be released in full.