Wednesday, August 17, 2005



Inappropriate

That is the only way to describe using an Education Ministry seminar to encourage participants to vote Labour. While the person responsible was a contractor, that is no excuse in these circumstances; while actually doing the work, they have a duty to adhere to the standards of the public service, which include strict political neutrality.

Whether they can be fired or not will of course depend on their contract, but this is a gross breach of public sector ethics, and the person responsible needs to be held accountable.

6 comments:

it is worth noting though that the Early Childhood Council, who appear to have done the dobbing in in this situation, are rabidly right wing and basically the EMA of early childhood. I found the fact that there was next to nothing to identify the kind of PD, the area the contractor was an expert in, etc, interesting. And of course the comment at the end from someone else at the seminar who certainly didn't recall the contractor saying anything like "vote Labour".

I agree that it may have been inappropriate (although I'd like to know more facts). It is not a good look. However if they were just laying out the difference in policies between this Govt (NOT the Labour party) and what National has indicated to expect for early childhood under them, then there is no denying that early childhood has made huge strides in the last six years, in terms of teachers being recognised as professionals, funding levels, access to PD, etc.

Posted by span : 8/17/2005 02:16:00 PM

What about the electioneering that's going on in the right wing firms, where workers are being told their jobs are on the line if they don't vote National? Happens all the time. Of course, the Right live by double standards.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/17/2005 02:21:00 PM

Span: Yes, they are. But that doesn't mean they're wrong to complain. Public sector neutrality is something we should all value, and we should not allow it to be usurped, no matter which party is doing it.

Its in the hands of the Secretary of Education now, and if it is a partisan beat-up by rabid fruitcakes who don't like being told about current policy, then I expect them to say so.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/17/2005 02:34:00 PM

Anon: There's no suggestion that that is what happened in this case. A contractor allegedly urged people to vote for a particular party, in violation of public sector guidelines. The sort of pressure you are describing constitutes undue influence under the Electoral Act, and if you know of anyone being subjected to it, you should encourage them to complain to the Electoral Commission.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/17/2005 02:40:00 PM

Question: Are contractors oblidged to be held to the Public Service's Code of Conduct?

Posted by T : 8/17/2005 10:39:00 PM

It would depend on their contract, but as a general principle, I would expect them to be held to similar standards in the workplace as any actual public servant.

(I would also expect them to be subject to fewer if any restrictions on their private activities)

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/17/2005 11:53:00 PM