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Pacific immigration mess

  • March 5th, 2009

Ernst & Young’s review of the Pacific Division makes sorry reading. In the mealy-mouthed way of these things it says poor performance has been tolerated.

A friend who worked there for an unhappy period described it as showing the worst of the "pacific way" – neoptism, incompetence masked by the humble efforts of a few good staff, and a culture that would excuse corruption. It got no better after Mary-Anne Thompson’s departure because the good staff carrying the load of people who were not up to it could not risk being accused of being culturally insensitive.

New Zealand will pay a high price indeed for our cultural sensitivity if it continues to erode our abhorrence of corruption. There should be a far more resolute rejection of the Pacific inheritance that equates power with privilege, instead of service.

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