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Statement, release of emails and text messages, on CTO role

Derek Handley has released a statement today, "On Being Open and Transparent About the NZ CTO Role", which can be found in a folder accessible here:
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/2/folders/1CbBBnP3kvPjH-LIwj6GfGFN51SQaBr0R

He is also releasing several documents relating to his application for the CTO role, for your reference, which are also in the folder. The contents of this folder include:
1. A timeline of events related to Derek Handley’s CTO application (created by Derek Handley)
2. All emails between Derek Handley and Clare Curran that have not already been released (covering period March 3rd to August 21st)
3. All text messages between Derek Handley and Clare Curran that have not already been released (covering period March 10 to August 17)
4. the single email Derek Handley sent to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2018 (dated 7 June)
5. all text messages Derek Handley sent to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2018 (from 23 Apr to Aug 20th)
6. a copy of the statement that's on LinkedIn

Pls note:
• Derek says the emails and texts named in paras 2-5 above are the entirety of all digital communications between himself and Clare Curran, and himself and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, relating to, or containing any reference to, the CTO role and his return home to New Zealand - and no other channel was used for this (eg Whatsapp, Facebook etc).
• Derek has chosen to redact phone numbers, email addresses and the names of officials for privacy reasons.

As a further reference, here is a link to the State Services Commission’s review of the recruitment process:
https://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/proactive-release-chief-technology-officer-12sept2018.pdf

Derek does not have any further comment beyond what's in his statement.

--

On Being Open and Transparent About the NZ CTO Role

In the month since Clare Curran’s demotion from Cabinet, there has been continued questioning and speculation over a series of communications that took place and what role they may have played in the appointment process for the Chief Technology Officer. I felt throughout that the right thing to do was to refrain from commenting as I did not see it as my role to clear up concerns regarding a Government process or contents of related communications.

However, the resulting vacuum has fueled speculation and demands to see emails and texts between myself and Clare Curran and Jacinda Ardern. The Government has chosen not to fill that vacuum.

In the interests of drawing a line on this issue, today I am releasing a detailed timeline of events and all of the emails and texts between myself and Clare Curran, and myself and the Prime Minister about the role and my move back to New Zealand.

These communications clearly demonstrate there was nothing untoward or inappropriate. In fact as stated in the State Services Commission’s own review, a “suitably robust process” was followed and the February meeting between myself and Clare Curran “did not prejudice the process”.

To this day, I have still not had any communication from the Government explaining why the role which I was appointed to was withdrawn. Neither have I heard personally from Minister Hipkins, Minister Woods or the Prime Minister during this challenging time, which has been disappointing from a Government that highlights compassion and kindness as hallmarks of their leadership.

In a small country such as ours, we need as many energetic and passionate people as possible to work together to shape our future. Anything that puts off any one of us from stepping forward to help New Zealand only detracts us all.

The handling of the Chief Technology Officer appointment and subsequent fall out in the last four weeks is likely to be be discouraging to anyone from the private sector contemplating making a contribution to New Zealand through a Government role.

Every New Zealander takes their job seriously and personally. Under whatever circumstances an employment arrangement is started or ended, openness, communication, empathy and concern are basic principles to doing so with dignity and compassion. They are also the strongest expressions of the culture and values of the employer.

I hope that we all can learn from this experience as it would be a shame if people were put off from serving our country due to this episode.

Moving Forward

I previously announced the decision to donate my contract termination proceeds towards the issue of digital inclusion. The Spark Foundation has kindly agreed to facilitate the donation to fund innovative efforts in this field which they are already deeply engaged in and I look forward to working with them on it.

For many years I have tried to contribute in small ways to New Zealand from overseas. Last summer my family and I finally decided we would return home in the coming year or two. I was excited to see how I could make a greater difference on the ground and saw the opportunity for the CTO role as one way I could do that.

I remain as dedicated and passionate as ever to helping our country and will no doubt find a meaningful way to do so.

CTO_Application_Timeline_Final.pdf

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