A cross-party group of MPs cause Auditor-General Martin Matthews to stand down

Speaker of The House David Carter announces to media that the Auditor-General is standing down as MPs and others have lost trust in him.

Auditor-General Martin Matthews will stand down from the role while an independent review into his suitability for the job is carried out.

Cross-party MPs on the Offices of Parliament Committee decided unanimously to review Matthews’ position in response to a request from him to do so, said Speaker of the House David Carter.

Matthews agreed to stand aside in favour of his deputy, Greg Schollum, while the review – expected to take two weeks – is completed.

No matter what the outcome will be, this won’t look good on his CV.  For something like this to happen so publicly, there has to be some butt covering going on.  

n a statement Matthews said he stood by his actions while at MoT and “know that I acted appropriately based on the information available to me at the time”.

“However, the current media coverage about these matters has the potential to undermine the important constitutional role of the Controller and Auditor-General,” he said.

“I am firmly committed to protecting the standing and reputation of the Office of the Auditor-General. While the review is under way, I am standing aside in favour of the Deputy Controller and Auditor-General, Greg Schollum, who has all the same statutory functions and powers.”

Carter told media following the meeting that he continued to have “complete confidence” in Matthews.

“No information has been presented to me that leaves me to doubt that confidence.”

“I think what is at risk here is the integrity of the office of Parliament of the Auditor-General. I’ve been becoming increasingly aware that it was a trial by media, with allegations out there to which Martin Matthews was not given an opportunity to respond,” he said.

The inquiry comes after the State Services Commission announced on Wednesday it would investigate the treatment of whistleblowers in the MoT fraud case amid mounting pressure for the Auditor-General to stand down.

Joanne Harrison, a former MoT senior manager, was jailed in February for defrauding the ministry of $750,000.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said on Wednesday he was taking over the investigation responsibility from the ministry on the back of public concern.

“Public Servants must be able to raise concerns without fear of punishment or reprisal,” Hughes said.

“If Public Servants raised genuine concerns through proper channels and were then disadvantaged in any way because of it, that would be completely unacceptable and something I view very seriously.”

Carter said he hoped the inquiry would result in having an Auditor-General that “Parliament has confidence in”.

The Media Party clock up another partial win.


– NZ Herald

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