The Herald reports:
Auditor-General Martin Matthews has resigned after a critical report about his handling of a fraud case.
“It is with great regret that I have tendered my resignation as controller and Auditor-General,” he said this afternoon.
“The issues and speculation about how I handled matters in relation to the fraud committed on the Ministry of Transport during my term as CEO have made it untenable for me to continue in this role.”
In a highly unusual case, his resignation comes despite his appointment being approved by all political parties. His suitability for the role, however, came into question after it became apparent that MPs were not told the full details of his response to a major fraud case at the ministry.
This is the right call. Matthews is an honourable man and has served the public well in various roles. But the fact there were multiple warnings about Harrison’s fraud while he was CEO of Transport does undermine confidence in him as Auditor-General. Any other public sector role he would be fine for, but not that one.
UPDATE: As Matthews has resigned, the Officers of Parliament Committee has decided not to release the report into whether the fraud by Harrison could have reasonably been detected earlier. This is a very bad decision. The public deserve to know the full facts about what happened, especially if it has led to the Auditor-General’s resignation.