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Anderton confirms public service ‘blacklist’

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Services Spokesman

15 November 2007

Anderton confirms public service ‘blacklist’

National Party State Services spokesman Gerry Brownlee is alarmed that Cabinet Minister Jim Anderton is today defending a new low standard in public service employment, effectively confirming a “blacklist” of candidates.

“What Mr Anderton is saying, is that no matter how competent you are, if you have a politically active relative or close friend, you should forget trying to get a job in the supposedly neutral public service.”

Responding to questions over his Ministerial veto of Madeleine Setchell, Mr Anderton said: ‘the person who's in a vulnerable position will always have the bone pointed at them. My only concern was whoever was appointed to a position like this which is sensitive would be put in a difficult position if something happened, and they'd be blamed even if it was completely unfair’.

Mr Brownlee is alarmed that this is the new low standard being set by the State Services Commission and demonstrates how Labour is giving up all pretence of a neutral public service.

“I am baffled by the Public Service Association’s apparent acceptance of this new low standard – which amounts to a blacklist.

“Madeleine Setchell was denied two jobs because Ministers thought she would pose a risk, despite the fact she’d worked for government departments before and was held in high regard.

“Labour has confirmed what most New Zealanders already knew. By stealth, previously neutral departments are becoming increasingly political. Come election year, they will inevitably be expected to do their masters’ bidding.

“Labour has fostered a climate of fear where chief executives now believe they have to give Ministers the right to veto staff appointments. On that basis, fair-minded New Zealanders simply won’t believe that Ministers’ opinions did not matter in the Setchell employment case.”

Ends

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