24 May 2017

Auditor-General wants to meet skeptical MPs

From Morning Report, 7:23 am on 24 May 2017

none Photo: RNZ/Kim Baker Wilson

Martin Matthews led the Transport Ministry while an incredible fraud was carried out by one of his top managers.

Joanne Harrison was sentenced in February to three years and seven months in prison for stealing $723,000 from the ministry.

She also tricked another government agency into hiring her husband and got a job for a friend who was on the Ministry of Transport's payroll for 10 months but never turned up or did any work.

Fresh information about the audacity of the fraud and the red flags staff raised with him have led to Labour seeking a review of his appointment as Auditor-General, while New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wants him to step down.

Peter Dunne's United Future also thought Mr Matthews had questions to answer.

RNZ understands that earlier, Mr Matthews planned to offer to meet with party leaders to answer any questions they had about how he dealt with Harrison.

However, the parliamentary committee that appointed him as Auditor-General, chaired by the Speaker David Carter, will now convene this afternoon to hear from Mr Matthews directly.