MP facing scrutiny over accessing of records

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014

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NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor will come under scrutiny as part of a Department of Corrections investigation into the accessing of criminal records.

The list MP was employed as a rehabilitation and reintegration services adviser for the Pacific-Northern region until 2011.

It was revealed earlier this month that her husband Dennis Taylor, a Corrections manager, was under investigation amid allegations the record of former party official Marise Bishop was accessed. Investigators have examined electronic fingerprints, which record when, where and who accessed records.

It is understood they now want to speak to Lole-Taylor.

Lole-Taylor, NZ First's corrections spokeswoman, said she would be happy to be interviewed. "They can do that. They are entitled to it . . . I have no problem, I have got nothing to hide. But this is to do with my husband."

Asked if she had accessed Bishop's records, she said: "I accessed a whole lot of records while I was working for the department. I can't remember thousands of records that I have actually accessed. And I cannot recall actually accessing any records for Marise Bishop.

"If the party was actually interested in that, they have their own system on how to access those things easily. So, I don't need to be part of that process."

Lole-Taylor said she was not concerned by the inquiry. "I really don't care about the investigation, to be quite honest.

"Because I got nothing . . . I really can't see why I should waste my time worrying about an investigation. They need to get over it."

The complaint relates to a 2012 party convention when it is alleged previous drink-driving convictions of Bishop, a former director and Mana electorate chairwoman, were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election.

Bishop was interviewed by police in Wellington in June 2012, but the matter was not taken any further.

A complaint was laid with Corrections by Bishop last month.

"Why would I do that, if they are members of the party?" Lole-Taylor said. "Why would we actually go after our own members. This is the silly thing about all this."

NZ First leader Winston Peters has said the party knew about Bishop's criminal record because she previously declared it.

Former party president Kevin Gardiner said Bishop complained to him, but he said nothing could be done. "How do we prove it? We are not the police department."

A spokesman for Corrections said: "The investigation is ongoing and we won't be making further comment until it is finalised."

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- The Dominion Post

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