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Public servant is owed an apology

Maryan Street
State Services Spokesperson

22 April 2014

Public servant is owed an apology

Nigel Fyfe is owed an apology from the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street.

“The former MFAT official has now been restored to a position in the Ministry of Justice but that is the least that should happen in the circumstances.

“Nigel Fyfe was accused in Paula Rebstock’s report of unprofessional behaviour for expressing his concern about the restructuring of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade when he was a senior diplomat. The report was widely criticised as an inadequate piece of work which offended against all natural justice principles and damaged two men's reputations without the opportunity for redress.

"The release of the report by the State Services Commissioner, Iain Rennie, just before Christmas last year raised further questions about the report's inadequacy and the Commissioner's role in it. It turned out that the employee most likely to be responsible for the leak of the MFAT restructuring report was one of his own staff, not Mr Fyfe or Derek Leask, the other MFAT diplomat maligned in the report.

"Mr Fyfe took up a position in the Ministry of Justice after resigning his position in MFAT. When the Rebstock report came out, he was stood down on pay from that job for no good reason. Only now has he been reinstated.

"Judith Collins' role in this also bears closer scrutiny. As Minister of Justice, she could have moved to reinstate Mr Fyfe much earlier except that Paula Rebstock is a close friend and trusted ally of Ms Collins.

"National ministers need to understand that the public service is not theirs to play with. They cannot simply cast it out and reel it in at will. Amongst other things, the public service is there to uphold standards of quality, integrity and professionalism regardless of the hue of the government.

“The only people who have not done this in this whole sorry saga are the Ministers and the Commissioner themselves," said Maryan Street.

ENDS

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