Blurred lines cited in dodgy roadshow review

The State Services Commissioner has given Housing Minister Nick Smith a serious ticking off for his office’s involvement in organising National Party roadshows, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says.

“Commissioner Iain Rennie undertook a review of the HomeStart roadshows and of OIA responses from Housing New Zealand following a complaint from me that these taxpayer-funded events were being used to promote National List MP Parmjeet Parmar.

“The SSC has not yet given an opinion on the redactions in the OIA response in question, which I believe show an attempt to hide information. That issue is currently under investigation by the Ombudsman’s Office.

“However Mr Rennie’s letter to me says all parties to the OIA, including the Minister, have admitted the correspondence strayed outside of what was appropriate - it crossed the line.

“While it notes the Minister was not aware of any of this occurring until the issue was made public, I find that hard to believe.

“There are clear lines around public service neutrality. In this case they have been crossed. Nick Smith might be wise to think long and hard about that over the Christmas break,” Kris Faafoi says.