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Rift between Shipley and Wintringham?

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark said today that it was inappropriate for the Prime Minister to issue veiled threats to the State Services Commissioner over the Work and Income NZ debacle.

"The Prime Minister has stated that she will be holding the State Services Commissioner to account for the spending at Winz. That is a shameful attempt by Mrs Shipley to shift the blame for the Winz fiasco onto Michael Wintringham, the State Services Commissioner, rather than calling Mr Sowry, the responsible minister, to account.

"The problems at Winz lie with National's policy direction. Nine years of a National government has seen a remorseless drive to privatise and corporatise public sector functions. Whereas the old Social Welfare Department used to help people on benefits, now Winz 'interfaces' with 'clients' and employs 'brand managers'.

"It is this ridiculous corporate ethos - encouraged and promoted by National - that has led to the lavish spending at Winz.

"Winz chief executive Christine Rankin should be held accountable for her spending by Mr Sowry and Peter McCardle. They set the environment in which Winz operates through the purchase agreement and the setting of government policy.

"Mr Sowry and Mr McCardle should then be held accountable by the Prime Minister.

"Mr Wintringham appears to have upset Mrs Shipley, perhaps because he cannot see an easy way of sacking Christine Rankin. Mrs Shipley's statements now imply that Mr Wintringham's job is on the line if he produces a report on Mrs Rankin that she, Mrs Shipley, doesn't like," Helen Clark said.

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