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Desperate English makes cowardly attack

3 September 2003 Media Statement

Desperate English makes cowardly attack

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard today called on National leader Bill English to apologise to the public service and to the State Services Commissioner for inferring the Commissioner had said public servants were ‘political puppets’.

“Mr English inferred in Parliament today and went even further in a press statement, that State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham had said in an email that under this government ‘public servants are no more than political puppets’.

“In fact, Mr Wintringham in the email was replying to that allegation, which was made by an unnamed public servant, and was refuting it.

“Mr English, in his cowardice and desperation, has cynically used semantics to impugn the most senior public servant in New Zealand, and to drag him into a political debate. He has also directly attacked every single public service chief executive in this country.

“In addition, he has alleged ‘collusion’ between the public service and the government.

“It’s a sad but true sign of weakness when a political leader has to stoop to this level and attack public servants in this way, when they cannot defend themselves. This is a cheap and nasty attack.

“If Mr English had a shred of decency, he would do what any honourable member would do, and apologise for his baseless and gutless attacks on the public service.

“Mr English’s actions demonstrate, once again, his gross unfitness for public office. The public already knows that, as was demonstrated at the last election and in polls since.

“The public service works to very high ethical standards. In fact in a recent international survey on international corruption, New Zealand public servants were found to be the amongst the most honest in the world,” Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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