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.

      🙄

      • 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

  • Labour will not resile from royalties
    Labour believes cleaning up our rivers so that they are clean enough to swim in is the most important freshwater issue for this election, but that it is also fair that a royalty should be charged where public water is ...
    18 hours ago
  • With friends like Hone, who needs enemies?
    With less than three months until the election, Hone Harawira has delivered another blow to the Māori Party’s flagship policy of Te Ture Whenua Māori reform and the already unstable MANA-Maori Party alliance, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “On The ...
    18 hours ago
  • Shifty Bill jumps the shark
    Bill English's claim today that it has never been established that Todd Barclay's recordings of his staff took place is bizarre and shows a complete lack of honesty and leadership, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  "Todd Barclay told Bill ...
    2 days ago
  • Te Ture Whenua – gone by lunchtime?
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has to front up about yesterday’s mysterious withdrawal of Te Ture Whenua Bill from Parliament’s order paper, says Labour’s Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Has he lost his way and has decided to run ...
    3 days ago
  • Bill English ignorance of law beggars belief
    For Bill English to claim he and others in the National Party didn’t realise the law may have been broken in the Todd Barclay taping scandal is simply not credible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister ...
    3 days ago
  • Government ignored advice on Pacific people’s superannuation
    The Government ignored advice from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples that raising the Superannuation age of eligibility would have a ‘disproportionately high impact’ on Pacific people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Aupito William Sio.   “The Ministry for Pacific ...
    3 days ago
  • Bill English misleads Parliament on Police statement
    Bill English's attempt to restore his damaged credibility over the Todd Barclay affair has backfired after his claim to have "reported" Mr Barclay's actions to Police has proven not to be true, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. ...
    4 days ago
  • Keep it Public
    The Green Party strongly supports the Tertiary Education Unions call to #KeepitPublic Keep what public? Out quality tertiary education system that National is trying to open up to more private for-profit providers with a new law change. The (Tertiary Education ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    4 days ago
  • This ‘technical error’ is hurting big time
    Jonathan Coleman cannot resort to his ongoing litany that the Ministry of Health’s $38 million budget blunder is an error on paper only, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “He might keep saying it’s a ‘technical error’ but the reality ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour to invest in public transport for Greater Christchurch
    Labour will commit $100m in capital investment for public transport in Greater Christchurch, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “As the rebuild progresses, there are huge opportunities for Greater Christchurch, but ...
    4 days ago
  • Green Party will repeal solar tax
    It’s ridiculous for an electricity distribution monopoly to apply a charge on solar panels but worse than that, it’s harming our effort to tackle climate change. Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison last year announced a new solar charge for their ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    5 days ago
  • English fails the character test over Barclay
    Bill English is hoping this scandal will go away, but he is still dodging important questions over his role in covering up for Todd Barclay, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must apologise for Christchurch schools stuff-up
    The Ombudsman’s findings that the Ministry of Education botched the reorganisation of Christchurch schools after the 2011 earthquake are damning for an under-fire National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “The Ombudsman has found the reorganisation of schools in ...
    5 days ago
  • Government’s multinational tax measures weak
    The Government’s proposals to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, by its own admission only recovering one third of the missing money, means hardworking Kiwis will bear more of the tax burden, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “The Government ...
    5 days ago
  • World Refugee Day – we can do our bit
    I’m really proud that yesterday, on World Refugee Day, the Greens launched an ambitious plan to increase the refugee quota to 5000 over the next six years. Of those places, 4,000 will be directly resettled by the government and another ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • PM’s leadership in question over Barclay affair
    The Prime Minister must belatedly show some leadership and compel Todd Barclay to front up to the Police, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Twice today Bill English has been found wanting in this matter. ...
    6 days ago
  • Another memory lapse by Coleman?
    The Minister of Health ‘couldn’t recall’ whether the Director General of Health Chai Chuah offered his resignation over the Budget funding fiasco involving the country’s District Health Boards, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “In the House today Jonathan Coleman ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English needs to come clean over Barclay
    Bill English needs to explain why he failed to be upfront with the public over the actions of Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, following revelations that he knew about the secretly recorded conversations in the MP’s electorate office, says Labour Leader ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister, show some backbone and front up and debate
    Rather than accusing critics of his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill of telling ‘lies’, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell should show some backbone and front up to a debate on the issue, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “Te ...
    6 days ago
  • Equal pay for mental health workers
    Today, mental health workers are filing an equal pay claim through their unions. Mental health support workers do important and difficult work in our communities. But because the workforce is largely female, they are not paid enough. It’s wrong for ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Nats’ HAM-fisted housing crisis denial
    National’s decision to knowingly release a flawed Housing Affordability Measure that underestimates the cost of housing is the latest evidence of their housing crisis denial, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    7 days ago
  • New Pike footage builds compelling case for mine re-entry
    New footage of the Pike River Mine deep inside the operation, revealing no fire damage or signs of an inferno, provides a compelling reason to grant the families of Pike River’s victims their wish to re-enter the drift, says Labour ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on slum boarding houses
    The next Labour-led Government will legislate a Warrant of Fitness based on tough minimum standards to clean out slum boarding houses, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s not acceptable for New Zealanders in the 21st Century to be living ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party tribute to Dame Nganeko Minhinnick
    Haere ngā mate ki tua o paerau; te moenga roa o ngā mātua tupuna. Haere, haere, haere. It was with a huge sense of loss that we learned of the death of Dame Nganeko Minhinnick yesterday. The Green Party acknowledges ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Urgent answers needed on DHB funding
      Jonathan Coleman must come clean and answer questions about what actual funding DHBs received in Budget 2017, says Labour Health Spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury puts Māori Land Service on red alert
    A damning Treasury report raises serious questions about the delivery of Te Ururoa Flavell’s proposed Māori Land Service, giving it a ‘red’ rating which indicates major issues with the project, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Treasury’s Interim Major Projects Monitoring ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Economy stalling after nine years of National’s complacency
    The second successive quarterly fall in per person growth shows the need for a fresh approach to give all New Zealanders a fair share in prosperity, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwi kids deserve much more
    All Kiwi kids deserve so much more than the impoverished picture painted by the shameful rankings provided by the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, says Labour’s children spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Zone a precursor to a total nuclear weapon ban
    New Zealand’s nuclear-free zone, legislated by Parliament in 1987, is something we all take pride in. It’s important, however, that we don’t let it thwart its own ultimate purpose – a world free of nuclear weapons. That goal must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • English must confirm we still stand by our principles on UN resolution
    Bill English must tell New Zealand whether we remain in support of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee’s evasive answers to repeated questions on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori party drop the poi on Māori health
    The Māori Party have dropped the poi when it comes to supporting Ngati Whakaue and Māori interests in Bay of Plenty by allowing an iwi owned and operated service Te Hunga Manaaki to be brushed aside in favour of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to invest in Whanganui River infrastructure
    Labour will work in partnership with the Whanganui Council to repair and redevelop the city’s Port precinct in advance of planned economic development and expansion. To enable Whanganui’s plans, Labour will commit $3m in matching funding for repairing the Whanganui ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parihaka: an apology
    An apology only works for healing if it is sincere and if it is accepted. We teach our children to apologise and to be genuine if they want to be forgiven. On Friday, June 9 at Parihaka, the Crown apologised ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Survey shows many international students plan to stay in NZ after study
    Most international students in New Zealand at PTEs (private training establishments) who have a plan for themselves after study intend to stay in New Zealand to work. This shows how low-level education has become a backdoor immigration route under National, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Councils step up as Nats drop the ball on housing crisis
    Phil Goff’s Mayoral Housing Taskforce is another positive example of councils stepping up where National has failed on housing, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    Labour will introduce moderate, sensible reforms to immigration to reduce the pressure on our cities, while ensuring we get the skilled workers our country needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealand is a country built on immigration. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inaction puts Māui dolphins at risk
    Conservation Minister Maggie Barry was at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York last week, trying to convince the world that the New Zealand Government is doing a good job at protecting our marine environment.  Yet last week after ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • National unprepared as immigration runs four times faster than forecast
    National has been caught asleep at the wheel by record immigration that has outstripped Budget forecasts, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • First home buyers shouldn’t carry the can for National’s failed policies
    The introduction of tighter limits on lending to first home buyers would see them paying the price for the National Party’s failure to recognise or fix the housing crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Nine years of denial and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Motel bill blows out as Nats fail to deliver emergency housing
    Minister Amy Adams has admitted at select committee that National has now spent $22m on putting homeless families in motels as it fails to deliver the emergency housing places it promised, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister, how out of touch are you?
    What was going through Jonathan Coleman’s head in the Health Select Committee this morning when he claimed he was unaware that an estimated 533,000 people have missed out on a GP’s visit in the last 12 months due to cost, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Divided we fall
    I’m getting pretty sick of the politics of division in this country.  The latest example was yesterday’s comments from NZ First leader Winston Peters having a good go in the House at driving up fear and loathing towards people of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Electoral Amendment Bill to enhance democracy
    Democracy will be enhanced under Labour’s Private Member’s Bill which will have its First Reading today, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Police underfunded despite rise in crime
    As crime continues to rise dairy owners are scared for their lives and communities reel under a record increase in burglary numbers, it has now been revealed that Police received less than three quarters of their bid in this year’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Road pricing years off, public transport investment needed now
    With road pricing still years away, Labour will step up with investment in public transport to ease Auckland’s congestion woes, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Call to protect Easter Sunday in Auckland
    Auckland’s Labour MPs are backing the community to protect Easter Sunday by retaining current trading restrictions in the city, says Labour MPs Aupito William Sio and Michael Wood.  “The Government’s weak and confusing decision to delegate the decision over Easter ...
    3 weeks ago
  • $2.3 billion shortfall in health
    The funding needed for health to be restored to the level it was seven years ago to keep pace with cost pressures has widened to a massive $2.3 billion, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.  “We used to have a health ...
    3 weeks ago