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Rebstock Inquiry a waste of taxpayer money

Rebstock Inquiry a waste of taxpayer money

The more than half a million dollars spent on Paula Rebstock’s inquiry into a foreign affairs leak was a waste of taxpayers’ money, says Labour’s Associate Foreign Affairs spokesperson Phil Goff.

“The inquiry only served to prolong the damage done to the morale of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff, 18 per cent of whom left immediately following the restructuring.

“We lost some of the most skilled and experienced diplomats who had served successive governments loyally and professionally.

“The inquiry should have been into how the Government managed to get the restructuring so wrong. Even Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully was forced to admit the job had been botched and blamed chief executive John Allen.

“Foreign Affairs had a reputation for being the Government’s most disciplined, committed and effective ministry.

“The flood of material leaked from Foreign Affairs and the unprecedented public criticism of the changes, including from 40 of the country’s 43 Heads of Mission, our top diplomats, reflects how strongly staff felt about the changes and process followed.

“People who committed their lives and careers to Foreign Affairs saw massive damage being done to its effectiveness and a unilateral attack on their job security and working conditions.

“People disclosed material because the changes proposed were wrong and the process lacking in fairness, openness and transparency.

“The Rebstock inquiry exposes the incredible double standards of the National Government. Civil servants were compelled to give evidence on oath. However, no such requirement was made of Peter Dunne, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he leaked the Kitteridge Report. The Prime Minister was happy not to pursue that matter for reasons of political expediency.

“It’s no wonder the Government had the State Services Commission drop this Report into the public arena after Parliament has risen for the Christmas break.

“After 19 months the inquiry has been expensive and inconclusive. All it exposes is the damage done to an effective ministry and a committed group of civil servants in the name of cost-cutting and ideology.” Phil Goff says.


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