Politicised public services must be investigated

Published: Mon 15 Feb 2010 09:54 AM
Politicisation of public services must be investigated
An email from the Ministry of Education that indicates a policy of dealing with advocacy for students with disabilities differently if the matter is raised by an opposition MP rather than a government MP must be investigated, Grant Robertson Labour State Services Spokesperson said.
"National campaigned on a promise to not politicise the public service, but this approach raises serious questions about that promise,” Grant Robertson said.
“If the Ministry of Education has decided to handle inquiries about local operational matters differently depending on whether the MP is a government MP, this is gross politicisation, and very unfair to constituents who are served by an opposition MP.
“The policy came to light as a result of Labour MP Ruth Dyson's attempts to support the parents of a student whose support funding had been cut.
“Her contact with local Ministry of Education staff was met with the following response,
"I have requested some guidance and the advice received confirmed the current process whereby operational issues raised at a local level by government MPs can be dealt with locally. On the other hand requests for information from non-government MPs have to go to the relevant Minister formally for a response."
"Ms Dyson has now received some information about the case from the Ministry of Education, but the fact a senior manager could believe this was the policy raises serious questions. I will be writing to the State Services Commission to ask that they investigate this issue, and provide an assurance to all MPs that they will be treated fairly when working advocating on behalf of their constituents."

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