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'Please explain' issued to SSC

Judith Collins National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

4 May 2006

'Please explain' issued to State Services Commissioner

The State Services Commissioner must make public the reasons behind his dramatic change of heart over the merger of the Ministry of Social Development and CYF, says National's Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

"No evidence has yet been presented as to why the commissioner changed his mind from December 2005, when his office wrote 'We do not think that the capability and operational problems faced by CYFS will necessarily be any more easily resolved in the context of a larger organisation. The potential is rather that the problems will be more difficult to address because of the inevitable loss of focus due to scope'.

"A month later he said the merger was 'the best option for improving the delivery of services for children, youth and their families'.

"MSD chief executive Peter Hughes confirmed yesterday at the social services select committee that the first he knew about a merger was being called into a meeting during his Christmas break.

"Senior CYF staff were even less fortunate. Shannon Pakura (General Manager - Service Development) and Lorraine Williams (General Manager - Operations) told the committee that they found out only after they had returned from holiday. They diplomatically described their consultation over the merger as 'limited'.

"Today, Minister Annette King could come up with no reasons as to why the commissioner had changed his view, other than 'he had the period between December and January to give it greater consideration - which he did - and he changed his mind'."

Ms Collins has today written to the State Services Commissioner asking for an explanation for the "about-face".


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