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Brady’s ‘gut feeling’ a slur on public servants

Media statement
For immediate release
Thursday, 14 February 2008

Dunne: Brady’s ‘gut feeling’ a slur on public servants

UnitedFuture leader and Ohariu-Belmont MP Peter Dunne says comments by the Auditor-General that he has a “gut feeling” corruption in the public sector “may” be on the rise is a slur on the integrity of all public servants, unbefitting his office.

“It is not good enough for a senior officer of Parliament to make unsubstantiated claims to a select committee about the potential professional conduct and integrity of a significant group of people who, because of the nature of their employment, are in no position to respond,” he said.

“The Auditor-General is an important safeguard of the public interest, but we have a right to expect his interventions to be based on evidence and fact, not ‘gut feelings,’”

Mr Dunne says he notes comments from the Public Service Association that it is unaware of any evidence to back up what the Auditor-General is saying.

“That puts the onus on the Auditor-General to produce some evidence to support his concerns, which he has not done to date.

“No-one would disagree that if and where corruption does exist it ought to be dealt according to the full force of the law, but the Auditor-General’s comments imply a far more widespread problem than recent experience suggests is the case.

“Governments of whatever colour rely on the professionalism and integrity of the public service, and are entitled to believe the officials who advise them are carrying out their duties to the highest standards of integrity at all times.

“In the absence of any evidence, the Auditor-General’s unsubstantiated ‘gut feeling’ is no more than an unwarranted slur on the public sector that demeans the integrity of his office,” Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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