24 May 2012

Jones accuses Immigration Service of 'untruths'

9:48 pm on 24 May 2012

Labour MP Shane Jones has launched a strong attack on the Department of Internal Affairs for claiming he approved citizenship for Yan Yong Ming within just 24 hours.

Mr Jones was stood down from his front bench and portfolio roles on Wednesday, pending an investigation into his approval in 2008 of citizenship for Mr Yan.

As Associate Immigration Minister in 2008, Mr Jones overrode advice from officials, and approved citizenship for Mr Yan - also known to politicians as Bill Liu - who was subsequently charged with immigration fraud.

In the High Court at Auckland on Thursday, Mr Yan was found not guilty on all five immigration charges.

Mr Jones has said he approved the application because he was told Mr Yan's life was in danger.

He says he does not want to discuss the role of departmental officials in the case, given a number of untruths told by them.

Mr Jones said on Thursday he had noted the acquittal but would not be drawn on what the outcome of Mr Yan's case meant for him, or his political future.

Shearer stands by inquiry call

Mr Yan's supporter, former Labour MP Dover Samuels, says he's very disappointed in Labour leader David Shearer for calling on Auditor-General Lynn Provost to investigate.

Following the verdict, Mr Shearer issued a statement saying the reasons the party asked the Auditor-General to investigate still stand.

He said Mr Jones must be given an opportunity to defend himself given the apparent differences in evidence given during the court case and Mr Jones's recollection of events.

The Auditor-General will decide in the next few days if she will conduct an inquiry.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Shearer told Morning Report' he believed Mr Jones had done nothing wrong.

Jones wants chance to defend his actions

Mr Jones says he wants the opportunity to defend his decision.

He also says he's considering his political future, saying it's a torrid time. He told Morning Report he was having to deal with the debris of a four-year-old decision and he felt like he'd taken a battering.

He said once the investigation is complete, he'd take time to consider whether he'd resume his political career.