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Breach of Cabinet Collective Responsibility

30 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Breach of Cabinet Collective Responsibility

The Government’s witch-hunt into leaks from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has backfired badly, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Phil Goff.

Minister of Trade, Tim Groser, is now under investigation by the Government’s inquisitor, Paula Rebstock, for speaking out to other public servants against the botched restructuring.

Mr Goff said he was asking for an urgent debate in Parliament today on the serious allegations being made against Mr Groser.

“On the face of it this allegation represents a fundamental breach of Cabinet collective responsibility and confidentiality,” Phil Goff said.

“Tim Groser is now in the gun, but the real culprit is Murray McCully who had oversight of the plans which everyone now concedes would have seriously damaged Foreign Affairs and New Zealand’s security and trade interests.

“I don’t blame Tim Groser for speaking out. He spent a lifetime working for Foreign Affairs and knew how counterproductive and stupid Mr McCully’s reform plans were.

“In the end it was Mr Groser rather than Mr McCully who wrote the Cabinet Paper executing a u-turn on the worst of the proposals.

“Now he faces the risk of dismissal from Cabinet for a breach of Cabinet rules, when he did the right thing in campaigning against what the New Zealand business community itself has come out publicly describing as a disaster for the country.

“It’s Murray McCully who should be sacked. The witch-hunt being conducted by Paula Rebstock should be closed down now rather than being allowed to cause further damage to the already demoralised Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Phil Goff said.
ends

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