06 March 2007
Clark's 'new era' of accountability fails

New Zealanders deserve more than another whitewash like the one served up over management of Graeme Burton's parole, says National Party Leader John Key.

"Two internal Corrections reports and an independent report on the Parole Board, have absolved anyone of blame and found that parole was correctly granted.

"In fact Corrections chief executive Barry Matthews said today that 'Overall his parole was well managed'.

"If that was well managed, I'd hate to see badly managed," says Mr Key.

"One of the most serious responsibilities of the state is to ensure the public is safe. In the response to the Burton rampage, Helen Clark has demonstrably failed to deliver on that responsibility.

"The independent report into the Parole Board admits mistakes were made and talks about corrective action. But the overall conclusion that parole was correctly granted will be met with disbelief from the victims of Burton's crimes and the wider public.

"The two internal Corrections reports are an absolute whitewash. For Corrections to claim that Burton's parole was well managed is absurd.

"For example one report shows a warning letter to Burton was not followed up for eight days - because his probation officer went on leave. During that time Burton breached his parole conditions for the fourth time.

"The report notes breach action 'would have been initiated on 13 December 2006 if the Supervising Probation Officer had not been on annual leave'.

"These reports simply confirm the grave concerns National has with the performance of Corrections.

"Helen Clark has a responsibility to act. She's had eight years in government and she has failed to do anything. Meanwhile, New Zealanders keep dying.

"And if history is any indication, Labour will continue to do nothing.

"Helen Clark preached about accountability while in Opposition. 'I want Labour in Government to usher in a new era of political accountability and responsibility', she told the Labour Party Congress.

"New Zealanders are still waiting for this 'new era' to begin."