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Does PM back Mallard's personal attack?

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Services Spokesman

23 November 2007

Does PM back Mallard's personal attack?

National Party State Services spokesman Gerry Brownlee says Helen Clark should state whether she supports the personal attack launched by Trevor Mallard against Environment Ministry whistleblower Erin Leigh.

"A woman resigned over what she says was political interference. An inquiry is under way. Is Helen Clark comfortable that her new Environment Minister is effectively sending a strong message to staff - don't say anything, or else?

"It would appear that through his actions, Mr Mallard is seeking to influence the sort of evidence that honest public servants might otherwise give to those investigating political interference in the neutral civil service.

"What other reading of the situation is there?

"The attack on Erin Leigh tells us a lot about the culture within government Ministries. Those who dare question their political masters are publicly flogged as 'incompetent' and 'sad'."

Mr Brownlee says Mr Mallard's statements alone could amount to inappropriate Ministerial pressure.

"We have a situation where one staff member was sacked because her partner worked for the Opposition, while a Labour party activist is apparently appointed to look after the Climate Change Minister's political agenda.

"Then, the new Environment Minister slams Erin Leigh for spilling the beans, just as an inquiry into the issue is barely under way. The whole time Labour's trying to say it doesn't apply pressure to public servants to toe the party line.

"It just doesn't add up."


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