This case covers a high-profile public sector authorized case of prolonged and extreme fraud
by a former senior supervisor, Joanne Harrison, at New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport
that went unchecked for five years, no matter makes an try by employees to draw consideration to
her repeated non-compliance with procurement insurance coverage insurance policies. An unbiased inquiry later
confirmed allegations by four employees who raised points that they’d been subsequently
disadvantaged in quite a few strategies of their employment on the ministry. Martin Matthews, chief
govt of the ministry on the time of Harrison’s offending, was subsequently appointed
New Zealand’s Auditor-Widespread, answerable for auditing all public entities throughout the nation.
Matthews requested for a parliamentary inquiry into allegations about his coping with of these
factors nevertheless resigned sooner than it was concluded. This case raises questions in regards to the
adequacy of whistleblowing legal guidelines and insurance coverage insurance policies and the importance of organizational
custom and administration in creating and sustaining a cultural setting that helps
ethical habits and protects employees who try and flag what they contemplate is inappropriate
By the highest of this case look at, faculty college students must be able to:
1. Research the weather that type employees’ means and willingness to determine and
report inappropriate workplace habits by colleagues.
2. Research the ‘formal’ organizational-level components that permit, encourage, and
discourage such reporting, resembling insurance coverage insurance policies, codes of conduct, and procedures.
Three. Research the ‘informal’ organizational-level components that permit, encourage, and
discourage such reporting, resembling vitality and politics, custom, group dynamics,
conformity, and administration.
4. Research the broader systemic components that permit, encourage, and discourage
such reporting, resembling public sector governance legal guidelines, along with societal
and cultural understandings (resembling attitudes within the path of acceptable responses to
5. Take into consideration the inter-relationship between these ranges to make use of those insights to
develop movement plans for creating organizations the place employees are morally attuned and
empowered to speak up about inappropriate habits at work.
It is with good regret that I’ve tendered my resignation as Controller and AuditorGeneral. The issues and speculation about how I handled points in relation to the fraud
devoted on the Ministry of Transport all through my time interval as CEO have made it untenable
for me to proceed on this place.
…Until April 2016, after I acquired some relating to information, I regarded the employees
member who perpetrated this fraud as an ready and extreme performing member of the
administration group. I contemplate I acted swiftly and completely to detect the fraud and produce her
to justice after I turned aware of her potential wrong-doing. I need that I had detected
her authorized train rather a lot earlier.
The info I acquired induced me to re-examine picks I had made regarding
points beforehand raised with me in relation to some inside enterprise procedures. I
thought I had dealt with these appropriately, with the data and information I had at
the time. She gave me explanations that I accepted. It appears I was fallacious. I must
have been further suspicious. The following enquiries and investigations I initiated
revealed she had devoted a severe fraud in direction of the ministry and the taxpayer.
I deeply regret and am sorry that I did not detect earlier her fraudulent actions. I actually really feel as
indignant and aggrieved as anyone about her stealing and breaches of perception. We’re fortunate
in New Zealand that this sort of habits won’t be frequent place and positively mustn’t
I’ve resigned as Auditor-Widespread because of I understand the expectations associated
with this place are extreme. You will want to me, and to the office, that most people has full
confidence throughout the explicit individual holding the place of Auditor-Widespread.
Martin Matthews, Three August, 2017
This press launch was the last word act in a uncommon set of events in New Zealand’s
public service. Martin Matthews, the actual individual with normal accountability for auditing all of
the nation’s public entities and for bettering public perception throughout the sector, was unwittingly
caught up in a severe NZD 725,000 fraud on the ministry he headed earlier to turning into
Matthews’ resignation, merely 9 months after his appointment, acquired right here ahead of the extraordinarily
anticipated launch of a parliamentary report into his and the ministry’s coping with of events
surrounding the fraud and whether or not or not it was acceptable for him to stay as Auditor-Widespread.
On the time of his appointment as Auditor-Widespread, Matthews’ coping with of the fraud whereas
Secretary of Transport was described as ‘exemplary’ by politicians on the appointment
panel. After he took up the place, allegations emerged that whistleblowers had warned of
repeated non-compliance, that these warnings had been ignored, and that the employees concerned
had been subsequently made redundant. It was important that the actual individual holding the place
of Auditor-Widespread demonstrated sound judgement and had a recognition previous
question. Matthews, concerned about this, and believing his actions had been sound,
requested for a evaluation of these points and provided to face aside whereas the report was
achieved, with out pay (Small, 2017).
Far more intriguing, was that the fraudster, Joanne Harrison, was regarded by Matthews
and loads of others throughout the New Zealand public service as a star performer. She had led a
programme of transformational change on the ministry that had, all through her time interval, recorded
one of the best diploma of employees engagement of any public sector firm. Media opinions moreover
surfaced alleging loads of ministry employees had raised points about Harrison’s noncompliant habits with Matthews and claimed he had didn’t take right movement. It was
further alleged that various of those employees had been deliberately disadvantaged of their
employment on the ministry for attempting to blow the whistle regarding Harrison’s actions.
There is not a suggestion Matthews was aware of these actions on the time.
Was Harrison a proverbial ‘unhealthy apple’ who stole from most people purse? How and why did
the Ministry of Transport ignore the warning indicators about her, enabling her fraud to
proceed? Why had been these employees who raised points not protected? The findings
of the parliamentary report had been anticipated to clarify these questions.
Harrison, the Inspirational Chief of the Ministry of
Transport’s Change Journey
The Ministry of Transport is the New Zealand authorities’s principal transport advisor,
providing protection advice and assist for Ministers to boost the effectivity of the
nation’s transport system. The federal authorities invests about NZD 4 billion throughout the transport
neighborhood yearly; about 1.5% of New Zealand’s gross dwelling product. The ministry’s
head office is located throughout the capital metropolis Wellington (Ministry of Transport, 2017).
Joanne Harrison was employed by the ministry in 2011 as Supervisor of Change, People
and Enchancment. Matthews was actually one in every of three people who interviewed her for the place.
In the middle of the investigations that uncovered her fraud, the ministry discovered it was her
second attempt at turning into a member of the ministry, after an unsuccessful utility in 2008. Her
curriculum vitae did not level out her 2007 conviction for defrauding a earlier employer,
a actuality the ministry did not become aware of until April 2016. Earlier to her appointment, the
ministry did not run a take a look at for a authorized file, no matter this being a longtime
observe throughout the public sector. Even had the ministry taken this precaution, it is unlikely this
price would have come to mild as a consequence of a court-ordered title suppression order and
Harrison’s conviction beneath the title Joanne Sharp (Moir, 2017).
In 2013, Matthews promoted Harrison onto his senior administration group, reporting instantly
to him. Her fixed time interval place as Widespread Supervisor of Organizational Enchancment was to
spearhead the ‘Shaping our Future programme’, the ministry’s change program. It was
anticipated that Harrison would ‘lead a “step change” throughout the effectivity and performance
of the ministry in delivering on its perform’ (Ministry of Transport, n.d., a). Two years later,
in Would possibly 2015, the place turned eternal, and Matthews had no hesitation in offering it
Harrison acquired constructive critiques all through her time on the ministry, with two effectivity
letters characterizing her as a extreme performer delivering organizational change. In 2012,
a letter to Harrison from Matthews personally thanked her for her ‘spectacular efforts in
designing and rising [the ministry’s] utilized Protection Advisor Enchancment (a-PAD)
programme’, which created a ‘minimal diploma qualification for people who practise protection in
most people sector’ (Ministry of Transport, n.d., b). In September 2014, Harrison acquired a
letter of thanks from Matthews for the ‘…important contribution you’ll have made to our
success’ (Ministry of Transport, n.d., b).
Matthews was considerably impressed that Harrison ‘launched a novel diploma of creativity,
innovation and drive to how we take into accounts change’. In 2013, Matthews launched a two
yr plan often known as once more to MoT’s Future, which checked out what the ministry might be like in
2015. This modification responded to challenges laid down for Matthews after a Effectivity
Enchancment Analysis of the Ministry in 2013. Harrison really useful to Matthews that he
undertake the alter-ego of time-travelling Marty McFly from the well-known 1989 film once more to
the Future 2, which moreover involved travelling forward to 2015. This is ready to include Matthews
dressing as McFly, the creation of cardboard cut-outs of him in character, along with
posters and animated films. Matthews believed ‘it was pretty an inspirational idea’ and
‘a severe departure from regular change plans throughout the public sector’, although he moreover
acknowledged ‘some of us thought I had misplaced my marbles’ (Hunt, 2017a).
Matthews’ and others’ extreme opinion of Harrison’s effectivity was moreover as a consequence of her
success in motivating employees and getting them to determine further strongly with the
group. One amongst her initiatives to boost engagement was the ‘caravan of affection’ poster,
that features the long-lasting Kiwi journey automotive; it toured the ministry’s workplaces throughout the
nation, adorned with notes from employees about why they appreciated engaged on the ministry.
Accompanying the caravan poster was a desk and chairs and a beer fridge (Hunt, 2017b).
Workers engagement survey outcomes confirmed common enhancements beneath Matthews, and in
2015, the ministry achieved one of the best employees engagement scores throughout the public sector
(Hunt, 2017b). Most likely essentially the most wonderful outcomes had been obtained by the 19 employees in Harrison’s
group. In September 2015, she acquired one different letter of thanks and a pay improve
(Ministry of Transport, n.d. b).
Harrison, the Fraudster
No matter her glowing standing throughout the eyes of her chief govt, completely different senior leaders, and
employees close to her, there was rising disquiet about Harrison’s cavalier angle within the path of
the ministry’s finance tips and procedures.
Questions first arose in October 2013, referring to a company Harrison had supposedly
engaged to work on the ‘Shaping our Future’ change programme. Between November
2012 and July 2014, the ministry paid NZD 227,000 to Sharp Design. All invoices had
been permitted by Harrison, however there was no contract between the ministry and the company
(a public sector requirement) and some questioning of the businesses being provided
When requested by the ministry’s Principal Solicitor for an proof, Harrison replied:
…I did not know we had to try this [set up a contract] after we despatched work out to be achieved,
I assumed that we solely organized this when of us had been contracted to work inside proper right here with
us, so my apologies if one thing has been missed before now. (Ministry of Transport, n.d.,
The ministry’s Chief Approved Advisor educated Matthews of the issue in an e mail, along with
a reproduction of Harrison’s response, and acknowledged:
How can a senior explicit individual in any group credibly declare to be unaware of the need for
a contract when getting exterior suppliers to do work? I uncover it astounding… If regular
managers pay no regard to right course of, what kind of an occasion does that set for the
the rest of the group?
Matthews requested him and the Finance Supervisor to remind the administration group in regards to the
have to look at proper processes.
In July 2014, some employees on the ministry turned aware Victorian State fraud
investigators had been searching for particulars about Harrison. Matthews was educated, and he
raised the issue with Harrison and requested her to contact them. She subsequently claimed
she had and outlined the inquiry related to her former govt assistant who had
misused her financial institution playing cards (Ministry of Transport, n.d., c), and Matthews was proud of
the explanation (Beatie, 2017).
Within the meantime, the annual compliance report prepared by the Principal Solicitor in August
2014 and launched to the administration group well-known ongoing non-compliance in Harrison’s
organizational enchancment group spherical contracting and the charge of invoices.
Spherical this time, an employee (often known as ‘Employee A’ throughout the subsequent inquiry into
the whistleblowing) made a ‘protected disclosure’ of their points about Harrison. Beneath
New Zealand’s Protected Disclosures Act 2000, employees or former employees can
make protected disclosures (generally called ‘whistleblowing’) about allegations of
wrong-doing throughout the workplace that they pretty contemplate are true or susceptible to be true.
The legal guidelines is designed to protect them in direction of disciplinary movement from their employer.
The problems raised about Harrison prompted Mathews to e mail her. In reply, Harrison
blamed work pressures, ‘oversights’ and ‘errors’ and promised ‘it will not happen in
future’. On August 27, Matthews declared he was ‘pleased that, on the concept of the
explanations given, no further enquiry or movement is required in relation to this matter’.
However, 5 days later, he had a change of ideas and directed an employee (referred to
as Employee B throughout the subsequent inquiry) to hunt further clarification from Harrison
(Ministry of Transport, n.d., c).
In October 2014, Employee B emailed Harrison to stipulate the ‘ongoing draw back’ that
wished to be sorted out, requesting options and paperwork for the Ministry’s data
for the entire questions well-known above. Harrison then emailed Matthews asking him to close
down Employee B’s questioning, arguing Employee B had ample information already
and implying the employee’s former place as a union delegate represented a doable
battle of curiosity:
I will really not current her with particulars concerning the investigation as I’ve precise
points spherical confidentiality and her PSA standing/historic previous 1
; the problems delay to the
complete approved group and by no means merely [Employee B]. (Ministry of Transport, n.d., c)
In December 2014, Matthews emailed Employee B saying he ‘would have hottest a
bigger diploma of transparency to remove any doubt of suspicion.’ He acknowledged that he had
spoken with Harrison in regards to the factors raised and ‘she has apologized for the noncompliance, assured me of her future compliance and outlined to me her causes for
the secrecy’. Matthews then acknowledged he had decided to not pursue the matter further,
because of ‘to behave with out good set off…would have equally extreme implications for the
perceived perception and confidence I’ve in actually one in every of my senior managers’ (Ministry of
Transport, n.d., c).
A yr later, in December 2015, the following annual compliance report found Harrison had
not delivered on her assurances that right course of might be adopted. Harrison’s
response was to ship an e mail to the Chief Approved Advisor, stating her ‘disagree[d] with
the content material materials and insinuation of the memo’. She blamed lack of personal teaching, no matter
having been in a senior administration place with worth vary and procurement obligations for
larger than two years.
The non-compliance factors referring to Harrison had been talked about at senior administration
conferences, so completely different Widespread Managers had been aware of lots of them. Nevertheless, on at
least two occasions in 2014, Andrew Jackson – who was Showing Chief Govt on the
time – agreed to fluctuate some contracts at Harrison’s request, whereas acknowledging on the
an identical time that it did not regulate to agreed procedures. These requests related to EJW
Consulting and Mazarine Associates – two firms that subsequent fraud
investigations would reveal Harrison had begun using to perpetuate her fraud (Ministry of
Transport, n.d., c; d).
The End of the Avenue for Harrison
Points acquired right here to a head in April 2016, when Matthews was tipped off about Harrison
having had a novel identification and a fraud conviction beneath that title for which she had
eternal title suppression. This induced Matthews to start making further enquiries
about Harrison, along with asking Audit New Zealand that was conducting its interim audit
to look further intently and report on Harrison’s non-compliance spherical procurement and
contracting. On account of that report and completely different inquiries following the tip off, Matthews
commissioned two unbiased investigations into Harrison’s conduct, by Deloitte and by
Peter Churchman QC, inserting her on explicit go away whereas these had been carried out. As further
allegations had been uncovered, the phrases of reference of the Churchman investigation had been
Churchman found that ‘correct from the aim of her genuine utility for a spot, Joanne
Harrison’s conduct has been based totally on deception and deviousness’ (Churchman, 2016).
The work that she claimed was achieved by the three fictitious firms was each not
achieved, or achieved by Harrison herself as part of her salaried place, by any individual on her group
or by one different provider. Whereas her offenses had been described by Peter Mersi, Matthews’
different on the ministry, as ‘refined, extraordinarily manipulative and deliberate over a
five-year interval’ (Ministry of Transport, n.d., d), options had been poorly executed. A search
for the companies involved confirmed that they weren’t listed in enterprise directories. Every
Mazarine Associates and EJW Consulting had the an identical checking account amount and postal
deal with and each no, or very rudimentary, internet sites. All of the emails from Sharp Design
to Harrison had been despatched throughout the night time or on the weekend, from Harrison’s e mail deal with
Harrison’s misconduct extended to not declaring a battle of curiosity with Patrick Sharp,
her husband on the time. She was instrumental in securing three paid roles for Mr. Sharp,
by which he acquired ministry funds (Deloitte, 2016). In November 2016, Harrison pleaded
accountable to three bills of dishonestly using a doc and was subsequently sentenced
to three and a half years in jail. The courtroom heard a couple of of the stolen money was used to
repay the mortgage on her home; as she had then transferred possession to her husband,
the home could not be used to make reparation (Radio NZ, 2017).
Inside the aftermath of Harrison’s fraud being discovered, consideration focused on why it had
been doable to proceed for thus prolonged. Peter Mersi commissioned two critiques into ministry
processes: one into its contracting and charge controls and the other into its
employment screening practices, nevertheless these did not relate notably to Harrison.
In early March 2017, Opposition MP Sue Moroney pressed for an investigation of claims
that former employees, each with larger than 20 years of service with the ministry, had been
made redundant on account of their efforts to draw consideration to Harrison’s non-compliance
(McCulloch, 2017). Mersi did not contemplate an investigation into the restructure was
warranted, nevertheless State Suppliers Commissioner Peter Hughes, who leads the group
answerable for providing oversight of New Zealand’s public sector, took a novel view.
Hughes appointed former Deputy State Suppliers Commissioner Sandi Beatie to
look at. She found four employees members – three finance employees and one approved – who had
raised points about uncertain invoices and journey by Harrison and had been subsequently
disadvantaged of their employment. Solely Employee A made a correct protected
disclosure, nevertheless others had raised factors within the midst of their work. Beatie found
Employee A would in the long run have been made redundant when an automated invoicing
system was launched nevertheless was exited months earlier than essential, based totally on
Harrison’s recommendation. Employee B was rightfully due an additional charge that
Harrison blocked, beneath the pretext of following a protection that did not exist and advice from
the Chief Govt that she did not pay money for (Beatie, 2017).
Learning the Courses
In mild of the Harrison case, Beatie advisable processes related to employees
making protected disclosures be reviewed. Whereas employees understood they may elevate
points, not all had been clear about how these might be dealt with. Some folks
described blowing the whistle as a result of the ‘nuclear’ risk and feared the repercussions for
After receiving Beatie’s report, Peter Hughes talked about ‘it’s important that public servants can elevate
points about suspected wrong-doing safely and with out fear of punishment or reprisal’.
He further well-known that in the case of wrong-doing ‘it probably gained’t be an firm’s senior
leaders, or the Extreme Fraud Office, or the SSC, that notices it. Will in all probability be completely different of us
inside the corporate who realise one factor isn’t together with up’. He apologized to the four
disadvantaged former employees, thanked them for his or her service and talked about they need to be
compensated (Hughes, 2017).
The Officers of Parliament committee ordered a report by former high-ranking public
servant Sir Maarten Wevers into Matthews’ suitability to be Auditor-Widespread following
allegations about his coping with of the fraud. Matthews requested that the committee
charge the evaluation. The report was delivered in June 2017, and Matthews was then
given a risk to the touch upon its findings. Sooner than the Committee achieved its
inquiry, Matthews tendered his resignation. The MP in price, David Carter, launched
solely a two-page summary might be made public (Small, 2017). PSA nationwide secretary
Glenn Barclay was indignant the entire report was withheld, saying most people wished
reassurance the appointment of Matthews as Auditor-Widespread had been sound (Small,
Throughout the an identical time as a result of the Beatie report acquired right here out, Griffith Faculty launched
its Whistle Whereas They Work 2 survey of protected disclosure regimes in Australia,
carried out alongside facet New Zealand’s Ombudsman and Victoria Faculty of
Wellington (Brown & Lawrence, 2017). It was the first survey to rank whistleblowing
processes all through New Zealand and Australia. The New Zealand public sector fared
comparatively poorly. Of the 10 Australian and New Zealand public sector jurisdictions that
responded, New Zealand’s public organizations – central and native – ranked near the
bottom, at eighth. Current legal guidelines was described as ‘weak, patchy and outdated’
Whereas reviewing whistleblowing legal guidelines and its processes was an important step, the
events raised completely different factors that weren’t successfully canvassed throughout the aftermath. Did Harrison’s
place in organizational enchancment and alter give her license to flout the ministry’s
tips? Had the shortage of Matthews’ and others to see by way of Harrison been influenced
by her promoting him as a transformational Once more to the Future chief and her
effectivity in numerous areas? Or had been what appear now to be obvious warning indicators
solely clear with some great benefits of hindsight? Harrison had produced distinctive employees
engagement survey outcomes, nevertheless was there a darkish side to the apparent cult-following by
1. Why is the pliability for employees to ‘blow the whistle’ important for the recognition
of organizations? Take into consideration this in relation to the case.
2. What options of the ministry’s custom made it further/a lot much less in all probability that employees points
about Harrison might be taken severely?
Three. What actions would you’re taking to develop a practice on the ministry that encourages
and rewards employees who talk up about inappropriate habits?
4. What elements of Harrison’s administration style characterize her as a
transformational chief? Did this have an effect on the chance of her offenses being
5. Harrison sought to encourage Matthews to undertake a transformational administration
style in implementing change on the ministry. How may this have contributed to
him not detecting her fraud earlier?
6. Among the many events on the ministry took place in direction of a background of deliberate
change. Do you assume uncertainty created by the organizational change made it
less complicated for Harrison to perpetuate her fraud?
1. The PSA is the New Zealand Public Service Affiliation, the union representing
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