Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


MFAT Leak Report:“Strong Suspicion” But No One Named

MFAT Leak Report:“Strong Suspicion” But No One Named

Findings of the Rebstock Investigation into the Unauthorised Disclosure of Information Relating to the MFAT Restructure– 12 December 2013

Scoop Audio+Photos

By Hamish Cardwell

Click for big version.

An 18-month inquiry into leaks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has pointed the finger at a group of senior MFAT officials and a State Services Commission temporary clerical worker, but no one has been named.

The $510,00 inquiry by Paula Rebstock was to investigate the leak of confidential Cabinet documents on MFAT jobs cuts and restructuring to Labour MP Phil Goff and the media.

The clerical worker, who had previously worked in the Labour Party research unit, had been battling in court against the release of the report.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, who ordered the investigation, said Ms Rebstock had a "strong suspicions" that a temporary clerical assistant working at the State Services Commission (SSC) leaked the three cabinet papers, but the investigation was unable to find “definitively” who was responsible.

Ms Rebstock's view was that it was not appropriate to name the leaker because there was still an “degree of doubt” and because the individual was a junior staff member, Mr Rennie said.

A lack of forensic information was a cause of the doubt.

Mr Rennie said he was “extremely saddened” that the leak may have come from the SSC and that changes had been made to improve the way sensitive information was handled.

The report also found the conduct of senior “Tier 3” public servants at MFAT during the change process “fell below standards”, and that there was a perception put across by the group that it was acceptable to air opposition to the changes outside the department and for political purposes.

It was probable that MFAT staff leaked material to Phil Goff and the media.

Mr Rennie said he would not talk publicly about persons X,Y, and Z referred to in the report, nor whether he had talked to public sector Chief Executives about whether there they had since employed staff members who had leaked the report.

He understood the change process could be challenging for staff but he expected them to voice their concerns through the “proper channels”.

“Deliberately leaking information and working to undermine and publicly embarrass your Chief Executive is not appropriate and can never be justified.”

Under New Zealand's system of Government it is vital that Cabinet be able to work in a secure and confident way. There was work being done to ensure secure handling of cabinet papers across the public sector.

He said he was not aware of any public sector Chief Executives taking disciplinary action at this time, but the report had only just been released.

The Rebstock report was itself leaked to the media yesterday.


Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format.

Click for big version.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Keith Ng On Public Address: Why The Police And The PM Are Wrong About Rawshark

On 2 October 2014, the Police raided Nicky Hager’s home... During the search, they found a piece of paper... “We considered [the document] was of interest to the investigation because of information we had already obtained”. That piece of paper was seized and designated NH025... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Islam And The Paris Attacks

Presidential contender Ben Carson for instance, wants it to be made illegal for a Muslim to be elected as President of the USA. For the Republican Party at least, freedom of religion in America extends only to tolerating many ways of accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour. In reality of course, treating Islamic State as the essence of Islam makes about as much sense as treating the Ku Klux Klan as the essence of Christianity... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Being Accountable, And Holding The Powerful To Account

Don’t know how you feel about it, but the selective unavailability of Ministers and senior public servants to media scrutiny seems to be a growing concern... Yet often and tellingly, they’re not so beyond-radio-contact that they can’t find time to authorise and email a statement unilaterally stating their position. Which indicates that it is the questioning of the party line that they’re choosing to avoid. More>>


Funded! Campaign Raised $56,546: Saving Your Scoop - A Rally Cry

This is a call to arms. A rally cry. Scoop needs your help. And what is at stake is much more than simply the future of the website. For the past 16 years Scoop has done its best to give every voice an opportunity to be heard, to speak truth to power, to use words persuasively to bring justice to where it is needed and to illuminate dark places... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news