"Clark's Edict To The Public Service A Cause For Concern"

  • Simon Upton
State Services

State Services Minister, Simon Upton, today expressed concern at Labour leader Helen Clark's willingness to level criticism at public servants who are unable to reply.

Mr Upton was reacting to Ms Clark's comments to the New Zealand Herald this morning.

"Helen Clark's "warning signal to the Mandarins" is a blatant call for public servants to write the things she wants to read. It flies in the face of an independent public service that, by long convention, is employed to provide free, frank, and fearless advice", Mr Upton said.

"Briefing papers to incoming governments are supposed to be a candid, non-partisan assessment of the state of affairs that exists. It is up to politicians to supply the policy guidance.

"I have every confidence that public servants will play their part. The real issue is whether politicians in government can give clear instructions to public servants. All we've had so far from the Labour party is a fine assortment of policy fudge.

"Ms Clark's willingness to drag into her premature electioneering people whose independence from politicians rightly denies them the opportunity to fight back is indeed worrying.

Mr Upton concluded, "I am sure New Zealanders will be thrilled to learn that the Council of Trade Unions will again be the source of "Old Labour's" thinking".