Helen Clark’s inquiry into Philip Field’s immigration activities was meant to last two weeks. More than twelve weeks later there is no end in sight. Why?
Because Clark set up an inquiry with no powers at all. It’s just a lawyer who can ask questions. Witnesses don’t have to co-operate, they can’t be given immunity, and they won’t even pay legal costs of witnesses who want to testify.
Calling it a whitewash is an insult to paint. And this has nothing to do with the personal qualities of the fine QC heading the inquiry. It is the fact it was set up unable to actually succeed.
The report will probably conclude Field was conflicted and had low standards, but will be unable to conclude illegality, and Clark will try to “move on” by saying as he is no longer a Minister it is all resolved. They should not be allowed to do that. The Government should be pressured to allow a proper inquiry or seek a Police/SFO investigation.