web analytics
The Standard

NRT: John Key pisses on public service independence

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, July 4th, 2014 - 30 comments
Categories: john key, public services - Tags: , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn.

One of the core principles of our public service is that Ministers have no role in staffing decisions. This is not the era of Seddon, where a Minister can hire or fire at will, and stack “their” department with cronies and time-servers regardless of merit. Instead, for over a century, public sector heads have been statutorily independent in such matters.

John Key has just pissed all over that principle:

The official who let the Malaysian Government believe New Zealand was comfortable with a diplomat accused of attempted rape going home, should consider their career options, the prime minister says.

[…]

Prime Minister John Key has backed both Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Mfat chief executive John Allen on the handling of the incident, but he has signalled repeatedly that he could not understand how an official could have given any sign that the position was unclear, given New Zealand’s sound legal system and the seriousness of the allegations.

“If that person doesn’t have clarity about that position then they need to think very strongly about whether they’re in the right job,” Key said, adding that the situation had added to the distress of the victim.

Key said the official had created the ambiguity.

“That led to a situation that is unacceptable to me, and I think it is very distressing for the woman,” he said.

The message is clear: the Prime Minister wants them to resign or be sacked. Its a direct attempt to pressure MFAT’s CEO on a decision in which they are statutorily independent, and it irrevocably taints any inquiry, in that any decision to discipline or terminate the employee will be seen as the inquiry merely doing the Prime Minister’s bidding. Such an improper intervention doesn’t just expose the government to legal risk – Key has just given the employee an excellent case for constructive dismissal – it also directly violates Cabinet Manual guidance on interactions with the public service.

But as we’ve already seen, violating the Cabinet Manual is a problem for Key. A “higher standard” of government? I think not.

30 comments on “NRT: John Key pisses on public service independence”

  1. Tom Jackson 1

    I thought it had been plain for a while now that the right’s attitude is that it can do whatever it wants.

  2. Pasupial 2

    I have seen that; violating the Cabinet Manual is NOT a problem for Key.

    A good post, just a shame you flubbed the punchline.

  3. BLiP 3

    [sigh]. . . cue the fawning MSM falling over itself in an orgy of praise for John Key showing some steel and firm leadership . . . yadda yadda yadda . . .

    Thing is, if it wasn’t for the fact that John Key personally and his National Ltd­™ gang government were made to look like the oblivious lying incompetent twats that they are the public servant involved would never have been victimised like this. John Key is all about under-resourcing the public service so as to generate poor service to tax payers and, thus, justify the increasing privatisation of core government functions. Its just that this time National Ltd™’s strategy backfired on it. You won’t find any under-resourcing in those sections of the public service which serves National Ltd™ ministers directly. Perhaps the best example of that is the protection services which, IIRC, has blown its budget every year since John Key decided he quite liked the thrill of having body guards around. He even took them on holiday with him . . . and lied about it saying he had no choice.

  4. Tracey 4

    2.53 In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.

  5. I think we all recognise there needs to be an Inquiry into what happened – but a proper one, not a whitewash.

    Sign up here if you agree – it should send an email off to the OAG.

    https://www.change.org/petitions/the-controller-and-auditor-general-please-undertake-an-independent-inquiry-into-mfat-s-actions-and-communications-in-relation-to-the-malaysian-diplomat-who-was-arrested-and-charged-with-serious-offences-in-nz

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      “…but but but but Lllllaaaabbbbbooooouuuuurrrr!”

      Your comment is now being used as toilet paper.

      • Chooky 6.1.1

        “Your comment is now being used as toilet paper.”….i hope you printed it out and didnt wipe your bum on the computer screen

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          oh dear…and I hope its not a laptop screen with the webcam built-in as the NSA has quite the shots right now

    • McFlock 6.2

      Go on. Explain why a staff member making a phone call of their own bat is the same as the Prime Minister advising a specific staff member to quit or be fired, in a press conference, before a so-called “independant” inquiry has even started.

      :roll:

      • Tracey 6.2.1

        sylands has been very precious about this mfat issue… revealed quite a bit about himself unwittingly of course.

    • freedom 6.3

      http://thestandard.org.nz/lets-play-blame-the-public-servant/#comment-844131

      srylands, framu is still waiting for an answer to a very straightforward question . .

      “but what do you think about key sticking his big oaffish foot into this – key is directly involving himself in operational matters to the point where he is potentially breaking employment law – whats your opinion of that?”

      to framu- hope you don’t mind the prompting on your behalf

  6. veutoviper 7

    Stuff now has up two articles posted late this afternoon – the latest at 5pm which names the MFAT official who appears to be the one in the line of fire. This article is one that was published early this morning, but which has been extensively updated.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10230402/Mfat-official-takes-blame-for-diplomat-bungle

    The official concerned, or rather the person’s position, was also ‘outed’ in a Herald article this morning – see my earlier comment on the ‘Lets play blame the public servant’ post

    http://thestandard.org.nz/lets-play-blame-the-public-servant/#comment-844041

    Stuff also has another article posted mid-afternoon on Labour’s view and that of the PSA, that Key’s various statements etc have now compromised the investigation and the official’s employment rights.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10233140/Labour-Diplomat-inquiry-compromised

    As pointed out in my earlier comment, McCully and Key appear to be repeating the interference and sullying of MFAT officials that occurred in the earlier Rebstock enquiry into the MFAT leaks.

    • Tracey 7.1

      which means a negotiated settlement which wont be revealed due to the confidentiality of employment process. irony much?

  7. dimebag russell 8

    the only principle National has is pissing on any one they dont like.
    thats who they are.

  8. fisiani 9

    is anyone here claiming that the official was blameless and competent. If you stuff up and embarrass your boss his boss and his boss does anyone think they should be forgiven.

    • mickysavage 9.1

      I don’t know the background fisi. I want to know the background before making my mind up on this issue. Seems Key is not hampered by this consideration.

    • Nordy 9.2

      You just don’t get it do you fisiani.

      The point of an inquiry is clarify and confirm what happended and why – to determine accountability.

      Do you not understand the concept of ‘natural justice’, or even simply justice?

      Of course given your blind faith in ‘teamkey’ I can understand you having difficulty with such ‘complicated’ and democratic concepts – but really – you should at least try to be less obvious.

    • Weepu's beard 9.3

      I’d like to know why those three bosses were so disinterested in the case. Odd, seeing it was so important and sensitive.

  9. fisiani 10

    inNZ a fuck up of this magnitude usually meansthat someone resigns. Thank goodness this is not Japan.

    • McFlock 10.1

      you would say that. In Japan the Prime Minister would have resigned.
      In most other countries the PM would resign.

    • mickysavage 10.2

      So Fisi who should resign? McCully or Key?

  10. dimebag russell 11

    both!
    but either way they will be gone on September 20th,

  11. philj 12

    xox
    Less public service from this corporate interest group I.e ‘government’.Time to get rid!

  12. philj 13

    xox
    The boss is always right….. you’re sacked J K! We ( the people) are the boss not you!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Another four years wait for democracy in Canterbury
    Today’s announcement that there will not be a democratic vote for Ecan until 2019 means four more years of waiting for Cantabrians to get their vote back, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “When John Key stripped Cantabrians of their… ...
    4 hours ago
  • The big problem with the Govt’s tiny climate target
    Yesterday the Government annouced their climate target. It’s not good news. They have officially pledged that, by 2030, New Zealand will reduce our greenhouse pollution by 30% compared to 2005 levels. In reality this target is just spin and is… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    4 hours ago
  • Black widows slip lax biosecurity web
    The discovery of black widow spiders in imported grapes highlights once again the Government’s lax attitude to biosecurity risks, Labour’s Primary Industries and Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI officials are trying to talk down the find, saying the spiders… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Census puts numbers on Nats’ callous indifference to housing crisis
    Just-released census data has revealed the human cost of National’s housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The census shows more than 20,000 people homeless and living in dodgy and temporary shelter: boarding houses, motor camps, caravans and cars,… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Child abuse stats reveal tragic truth
    The Government has scored an own goal with its report card on Better Public Service Targets only highlighting its failure to tackle child abuse, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “One of National’s top 10 goals, set out in a… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Minister, failure to plan is planning to fail
    Climate Change Minister Tim Groser must immediately set a clear carbon budget if he wants to have any chance of meeting the emission reductions he has announced, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “National’s dirty little secret is that… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Confidence slumps in Auckland
    Auckland has joined the rest of the country in seeing a major slump in business confidence, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “This proves that in spite of the housing bubble, the city is not immune from nervousness about the… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Government has no credible climate change plan
    Today’s announced climate change target falls short of the ambition required to meet even our existing targets, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “The target announced today amounts to a decrease of only 11 per cent from 1990 levels. This… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland house prices now 10 times incomes
    Auckland house prices have risen so steeply the typical house in our biggest city now costs 10 times the median Auckland household income, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Barfoot and Thompson reports the median house sale price in June… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time for economic spin is over
     Business confidence in the latest NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion falling to its lowest level in three years is yet another warning of a staggering economy that cannot be ignored, says Labour's leader Andrew Little.   “This comes on the back of dairy prices falling… ...
    1 day ago
  • Bullying contributes to Auckland being stripped of ICU training
    Complaints of bullying and harassment by supervisors which have contributed to Auckland’s critical care department losing its training accreditation are further evidence of the appalling culture at executive level, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The department had its accreditation… ...
    4 days ago
  • Broadband failure sucks up more cash
    The Commerce Committee has blocked an inquiry into the $300 million rural broadband initiative (RBI) despite mounting evidence it’s a massive policy failure and waste of money, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “The Government is about to spend an… ...
    5 days ago
  • TISA – Another secret trade deal you may never have heard of
      This post first appeared on The Daily Blog You’ve probably heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by now and the widespread concerns around it but what about the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) also being currently negotiated by… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    5 days ago
  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    6 days ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    6 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    6 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    6 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    6 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    6 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    1 week ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    1 week ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    1 week ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    1 week ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere