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Satire: MFAT Watercoolergate

MFAT Leak: Pair of Water Coolers out themselves as Focus of Rebstock Report

By 'Uncle Jang'
paula, rebstock,
mfat, leak, state services commission
Image: Lyndon Hood

Two water coolers known only as Y and Z have outed themselves as the focus of the Government report ordered by States Services Commissioner Iain Rennie and conducted by Paula Rebstock into leaks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in March 2012.

"I was really surprised, as I thought the government had ordered an inquiry into leaking." said the Water Cooler Big Blue, known as Z in the report."I don't understand why I am in this report at all as I don't leak."

"My approach throughout the MFAT restructuring was to provide a superior filtered product and a more informal opportunity to rip into senior management. This was completely lacking in the formal consultation process." said Big Blue.

The report found the use of water coolers such as Big Blue and Water Cooler Y (believed to be New Zealand's top performing Alpine Fresh brand) during the restructuring to be "a big part of the problem with carrying out this inquiry".

The report states "I shook Water Coolers Z and Y around quite vigorously and was surprised to discover they did not leak.

"It was actually pretty frustrating, as - boy! - they had really got up the nose of senior management. My reputation as the government's fix-it woman was on the line."

In August 2013, the terms of reference of the inquiry were widened to include the act of "holding water".

"You could say this was the breakthrough we had been looking for." said State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, speaking with relief at the end of the long and expensive process for which he was responsible.

"Many Tier 3 water coolers in MFAT clearly were holding too much water and this led to all sorts of carry-on with staff openly mocking the restructure and conspiring to save the foreign service.

"It's time that public servants got back to basics - there's plenty of water in the tap!" he said, wagging his finger.

"I'm just really pleased that Paula found a way to divert attention away from the fact that the Cabinet Paper leak most likely came from my staff or one of my Ministers." he said, lowering his voice.

"Burying this expensive and inconclusive report just before Christmas was just the present I was hoping for." said Minister McCully upon release of the report.

"Water coolers have long been a distraction from the task of building a modern foreign service. Frankly all they encourage are cruel hurtful jokes about me and the mess that CEO John Allen was making at the time." he said.

Staffroom renovations are ongoing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to introduce closed circuit TV around remaining sinks.


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