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Minister for Finance needs to be satisfied that new Central Bank Governor exercised due care in New Zealand Budget leak – Doherty

6 June, 2019 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin TD and Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said that it is paramount that the Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe be completely satisfied that Mr Gabriel Makhlouf, who is due to take up the Governorship of the Central Bank in September, has not made a grievous error of judgement in his handling of the leaking of the New Zealand national Budget.

The New Zealand State Service Commission confirmed this week that it had launched an investigation into the actions of Mr Makhlouf and his public statements about the unauthorised access to Budget material. 

The Donegal TD said:

“Elements of the national Budget of New Zealand was accidentally released in recent weeks. Mr Makhlouf is accused of implying that this material had been unlawfully obtained by the New Zealand opposition party. Despite the police informing his Department that there was no such unlawful behaviour, it is alleged that the Treasury persisted in continuing this line of accusation.

“There are questions to be answered by Mr Makhlouf in relation to this rush to judgement. There are also questions raised by the reaction to the delay in clarifying his comments about unlawful behaviour, despite his being informed by police that this was not the case.

“Neither Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern or the Finance Minister have been able to express confidence in Mr Makhlouf.  

“If Mr Makhlouf is cleared by the inquiry in New Zealand, then of course his appointment should go ahead. However, Minister Donohoe must be hands on in this case and be completely satisfied that the individual who is due to take up this highly important office has not made a grievous error of judgement in his handling of this case.

“At this point in time, there are serious accusations to be investigated by New Zealand authorities.” 

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