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National breaching public service impartiality

23 November 2009
Media Statement

National breaching public service impartiality


Some National MPs seem to think that the public service is an extension of their party operations, judging by the actions of MP Paul Quinn, Grant Robertson Labour Spokesperson said.

"Paul Quinn has invited a number of individuals and organisations to a meeting to discuss National Party policies, and has branded the meeting as being ‘in association’ with Work and Income. This is a clear breach of State Sector rules which say that public servants and agencies must not directly support a party or do anything that could put their impartiality in question,” Grant Robertson said.

"I have forwarded material about the meeting to the State Services Commissioner and the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development. The Commissioner has described the material as "concerning" and has asked the Chief Executive to investigate.

"The neutrality of the public service is an important and carefully protected balance in our system. By his actions Mr Quinn is politicising the public service. As an opposition MP I have no right to ask officials to host meetings in association with me, and neither does Mr Quinn."

"The only politician who has the right to direct Work and Income is the Minister of Social Development and Employment. Even then it is questionable if there needs to be any political involvement at all in promoting the employment schemes in question. Ms Bennett needs to assure the New Zealand public that she did not authorise Mr Quinn to hold this meeting, and to distance herself from his actions."

"National campaigned on a promise to uphold the professionalism and integrity of the public service. This kind action does the exact opposite."

Reply from State Services Commissioner (pdf)

Invitation from Paul Quinn to meeting And Letter of complaint to State Services Commissioner from Grant Robertson (pdf)

ENDS

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