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Covid inquiry chair needs to jump or be pushed over conflicts of interest

The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Brooke van Velden to replace epidemiologist Tony Blakey as Chair of the Covid-19 Royal Commission of Inquiry after the extraordinary revelations in today’s NZ Herald suggesting several strong conflicts of interest.

Commenting, Taxpayers’ Union Head of Campaigns, Callum Purves, said:

“New Zealanders need to have confidence that the Covid-19 Royal Commission of Inquiry will examine the Government’s response to the once-in-a-generation pandemic without fear or favour. Its members – and especially its chair – need to have independence from how those decisions were made so they can objectively assess what worked well and what might have been done differently.

“The revelations today make it clear that Tony Blakey was not just an active participant in New Zealand’s Covid-19 response by providing direct advice to key policymakers and advisers but also that he had close relationships and friendships with many of the key policy players. It is simply not credible to suggest that this will not affect his judgement when considering matters as part of the Inquiry. Even if he feels he is able to manage any conflicts, the perception alone will undermine the work of the Commission.

“Mr Blakley should do the honourable thing and step down. If he refuses, Brooke van Velden should replace him. Given New Zealand is a small country and many of those who might be well suited to the role may also be conflicted, the Minister could consider appointing someone from another country to ensure impartiality and restore public confidence in the Inquiry.”

Showing 1 reaction

  • Nztu Media
    published this page in News 2024-05-09 10:34:49 +1200

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