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Rumours Of Conflict Of Interest Rejected By NZQA

NZQA Media Release

23 March 2005

Rumours of conflict of interest rejected by NZQA chief

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority chief executive Karen Van Rooyen says she absolutely rejects allegations of a conflict of interest between herself and a recruitment firm.

False claims have been made that the Qualifications Authority has an exclusive arrangement with PowerHouse People. Her partner, Warren Tocker, is a director and shareholder.

Karen Van Rooyen said the Qualifications Authority uses a number of recruitment providers to supply both permanent and contract staff, and, in this case, she had declared her interest to the Chairman of the Qualifications Authority Board.

"There is no exclusivity arrangement in place for any recruitment provider and the Qualifications Authority has not used PowerHouse People in any exclusive arrangement.

"Recruitment providers are selected on a case-by-case basis and are chosen for their expertise in relation to a particular role the Qualifications Authority is intending to fill," said Karen Van Rooyen.

She said Qualifications Authority Human Resource Manager, Graham Huckstep is responsible for determining which recruitment providers are used.

"I officially advised the NZQA Board Chair of a declaration of interest in September last year. In response, the Board Chair advised all NZQA management that Warren will not carry out any recruitment work for NZQA," said Ms Van Rooyen.

The memorandum to NZQA management also states that Ms Van Rooyen will not advocate for, recommend or require the use of PowerHouse by NZQA, and that she will not use PowerHouse for any recruitment process in which she selects the recruitment provider.

All managers were also advised to continue selecting recruitment agencies, in conjunction with him, that provide the best outcome at the most cost - effective rate.

"To date we have used PowerHouse People for one appointment – a new chief financial officer. I had no involvement in the selection of the recruitment agency. The process was entirely consistent with the memorandum.

"Short-listed candidates for the job were interviewed by a panel. The recommended applicant was then interviewed by another panel, of which I was a member. My only involvement was when the preferred candidate was put forward for a role which reports directly to me," said Ms Van Rooyen.


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