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State Services Commissioner—Inquiry into Environment Ministry Appointment

Wednesday 24 October 2007 Hansard source (external site)

Brownlee7. GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam) Link to this
to the Minister of State Services

When will the State Services Commissioner release the report of the investigation into the Public Service recruitment and employment of Madeleine Setchell?

KingHon ANNETTE KING (Minister of State Services) Link to this

I am advised by the State Services Commissioner that he intends to release the report as soon as it is completed. The investigation is progressing but is not yet concluded, and a completion date is yet to be determined.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

Has she, any member of her staff, any other Cabinet Minister, or any ministerial staff seen any draft or final reports of Dr Prebble’s or Mr Hunn’s investigations; if so, when?

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

I can speak only for myself, and I have received a draft of those parts of the report to the State Services Commission that refer to me, the Minister of State Services.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

Does Mr Hunn’s report include any comment or assessment of Dr Prebble’s actions; if so, what actions will be taken as a result of analysis of Mr Hunn’s report?

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

I have no knowledge in the matters the member has just asked me. All I have seen are the comments that I made to Mr Hunn. They have been shown to me to check as to whether they are accurate in terms of my input into the inquiry. I have no knowledge of what is in the report. As I have already pointed out to the member, I have seen only the comments that I have made.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

Is the Minister telling the House that she has seen the drafts of this report that relate to her and her involvement, but that none of those drafts in any way deal with any assessment of Dr Prebble’s behaviour and conduct in this particular matter?

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

If the member had listened carefully, he would have heard that I advised the House I have seen the comments that I made to Mr Hunn. That is the only thing I have seen. No one, as far as I am aware, has seen the full report, because as I am told it is still a work in progress. What I have seen are my own comments, as one would expect in any report, to ensure that they are accurate in terms of the person who took them down as a record of the interview with me.

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

I tell Mr Brownlee that that is absolutely correct. I think I probably know myself a little better than the member does. After all, they were my comments.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

Don’t be so sensitive.

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

Don’t tell lies.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I point out here that there is absolutely no risk of me telling lies on this matter, but the Minister may want to reflect on her answers.

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

Madam Speaker, I take offence at that. I have just told this House exactly what has happened in relation to that report. The member is insinuating something else—I am not sure what it is. Maybe he thinks he has seen a report, and if that is the case I would ask, how, why, and where?

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

My response was to the Minister yelling across the House “Don’t tell lies.” I am asking questions, that is all, and I think she should withdraw and apologise for that remark.

WilsonMadam SPEAKER Link to this

I did not hear the Minister say “Don’t tell lies.”, I must say. Did the Minister say that?

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

If I did, I apologise.

WilsonMadam SPEAKER Link to this

I call Gerry Brownlee.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

I have no idea why this question causes so much tension on the other side of the House—

WilsonMadam SPEAKER Link to this

I have called the member.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

Oh, there was so much noise I did not hear it.

WilsonMadam SPEAKER Link to this

Perhaps you could ask colleagues on all sides of the House to please keep their interventions down, so members can hear when they are called.

CullenHon Dr Michael Cullen Link to this

I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The member has just claimed he did not hear you call him. If he did not hear you call him, why did he start to speak?

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

Can the Minister confirm that Mr Hunn’s report will simply be a factual account of what happened, with any conclusions, etc. left to Dr Prebble, who remains, effectively, the judge, the jury, the defence, and the prosecution?

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

Mr Hunn’s role is to get to the facts. So obviously it will be factual, I hope, because his job is to get to the facts. It will be made public, as will Dr Prebble’s report be made public. I would say that if the conclusions are not correct, everybody will be able to see whether the right ones or the wrong ones have been made.

BrownleeGerry Brownlee Link to this

Why has the release of the report been delayed, given that Dr Prebble stated on 3 August that the investigation was expected to take between 6 and 8 weeks, and it has now been nearly 12 weeks; and is that because the Labour Government wants to release the report when it will be crowded out by other news such as the impending Cabinet reshuffle?

KingHon ANNETTE KING Link to this

The trouble is that the member never listens to answers. The last time there was a question on this I was asked who would release the report, and it is not the Labour Government. It actually happens to be the State Services Commissioner, and as far as I know, he does not know when, why, or how the reshuffle will take place. So he will not be basing the report’s release on that. I think the member has got it wrong, once again.

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