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Report puts end to neutral public service

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Services Spokesman

20 November 2007

Report puts end to neutral public service

National Party State Services spokesman Gerry Brownlee says a State Services Commission report out this afternoon, confirms that David Parker meddled in the appointment of Clare Curran at the Environment Ministry.

“But the report does not confirm when Mr Parker first raised Clare Curran as a potential candidate at the Ministry, or what he said. Yet on the basis of that conversation, suddenly the appointment of Clare Curran became urgent, and a reason to circumvent the Ministry’s usual contracting process.

“If this wasn’t so serious, I’d be laughing. This report is proof positive that under Labour there is no longer any pretence of a neutral public service.

“Around the same time that Ms Curran was writing a highly political paper about Labour’s use of language, she is appointed to the Ministry for the Environment as a communications expert.

“Laughably, the contract management checklist for the Labour Party activist has been marked in the affirmative to the question ‘are you confident there is no conflict of interest for any of the parties to the contract’.

“David Parker will have public questions to answer when he returns to New Zealand. Helen Clark has described his meddling as ‘naïve’. Were David Benson-Pope and Jim Anderton naïve too? This tired third-term Government appears to be suffering from an epidemic of naivety when it comes to public sector appointments.”

Mr Brownlee says it has not escaped National’s attention that Ms Curran’s business, Inzight Communications, has also won contracts from the Ministry of Social Development.

“In May last year, Ms Curran provided a strategic paper to a Labour Party conference. About the same time she was awarded a $120-an-hour contract at the Ministry for the Environment.

“This is Labour’s version of a ‘neutral’ public service. Madeleine Setchell is sacked because at least two Ministers presumed she was a risk, yet Labour activist Clare Curran is rewarded because of her political connections.”

ENDS

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