Integrity Of Public Sector Information Paramount

  • Simon Upton
State Services

"The Government is determined to maintain the integrity of the public sector," Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and State Services Minister Simon Upton said today.

The Prime Minister says she has made it clear that the Government must leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the allegations of illegal practices that have emerged recently. However rare these instances are, they have the potential to shake New Zealanders' confidence.

"Most public servants would not dream of breaching the trust New Zealanders place in them. It is vital for their reputations that we find and deal with any who are breaking the rules."

The Minister of State Services, Simon Upton, says New Zealanders have grown up to expect and believe in the integrity of the public sector. He says it is crucial that it is maintained.

"The first line of attack will be an investigation into the IRD and WINZ by the State Services Commissioner to check the systems they have to stop individual employees handing over private information".

"The investigation will be conducted as speedily as possible given the gravity of the allegations. We will then be in the position to know whether we need to proceed further. Without foreclosing that option, the Commissioner will be making use of independent external experts to assist him in his investigation".

The Prime Minister has also asked DPMC and SSC to report to Cabinet on the requirements public servants are expected to meet, in particular the legal requirements relating to information databases.

In addition the Privacy Commissioner is making his own inquiries into the use of information.