The inquiry will examine:
- the policies and practices of the Department of Internal Affairs when advising the Minister on applications for citizenship, in particular where the applicant’s ‘good character’ is in question;
- how and why the Minister decided to grant citizenship to Mr Yan; and
- any other matters the Auditor-General considers it desirable to report on.
Francis Cooke QC has been appointed to lead the inquiry, which is being carried out under sections 16 and 18(1) of the Public Audit Act 2001. We will publish a report when the inquiry is completed.
It is a pity that the inquiry is into the citizenship issue only, as I think it would have been better to look into the totality of Yan’s dealings with the Government, and with Labour officials such as party fundraiser Shane Te Pou who was paid $5,000 to help Yan get citizenship.
On the positive side, the Auditor-General has the power to require people to provide information and to give evidence under oath.