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Rebstock Inquiry - Statement from Hugh Rennie QC

Rebstock Inquiry - Statement from Hugh Rennie QC


I am counsel for Mr Nigel Fyfe. He has asked me to clarify what has been said today by the State Services Commissioner about him, his legal representation, and his involvement in theRebstock lnquiry.

I am authorised to state that he is the person referred to as 'Y" in the Rebstock report.

Despite the report's use of that description, it contains extensive information which identifies him. The plain intention of the SSC is to identify him by indirect means. He is disclosing his name to avoid any unfair effect on past and present MFAT staff.

Mr Fyfe is a long serving public servant, who has achieved much for this country {in particular in trade and maritime negotiations) and has been praised and endorsed by Ministers of all governments he has worked for. He had taken up a position elsewhere in the public sector before the MFAT restructuring was commenced, and left during that restructuring.

As a former senior public servant with MFAT, he was asked by the Rebstock inquiry to be interviewed and to provide information about his role in the 2012 restructuring.

He provided all interviews requested, responded to all questions, and provided all information.

lnitially he participated without counsel. He became increasingly concerned at the way in which the lnquiry was conducted and obtained counsel. The inquiry appeared to have predetermined outcomes, one of which was to attack Mr Fyfe in particular and also many senior MFAT public servants who rejected the deeply flawed restructuring proposals and the ineffective consultation mechanisms used.

Mr Fyfe did not leak or release any information to media or politicians. He participated in an internal response by MFAT staff which achieved major changes in the restructuring proposals, and avoided the loss of many experienced staff. This internal debate was unusual in that it became confrontational. MFAT staff did not seek this but faced confrontation.

Mr Fyfe acted within the State Sector Code of Conduct, and in accordance with his knowledge of public sector practices gained over many years. Repeated requests were made to Ms Rebstock to identify any breach of the Code; none were identified.

Mr Fyfe's use of counsel, as publicly commented on by the State Services Commissioner, was for the proper purpose of trying to obtain natural justice compliance from the lnquiry,compliance with privacy law; an adherence to the terms of reference; and the avoidance of the misuse of the lnquiry process as a means of retribution against public servants (including Mr Fyfe).

Counsel sought to achieve that but largely unsuccessfully. The ultimate report is seriously unreliable, unjust and in error on many matters.

Given the threat of further action by SSC against Mr Fyfe, no larger statement can be made at this time.

ends

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