Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Utterly unacceptable

Yesterday we learned that, contrary to reports last week, the Ministry for the Environment did not put the contract won by Labour Party activist Clare Curran out to tender, but hired her directly in violation of normal procedures. That's bad enough, but tonight TV3 dropped this bombshell:

Erin Leigh worked at the Environment Ministry in 2006 on climate change issues - but she resigned suddenly over what she calls inappropriate political interference by the minister.

Parker suggested in 2006 that the ministry hire labour party activist, Clare Curran to develop climate change strategies.

"She was there representing David Parker's personal political agenda - it was highly unusual, my advice was to push back on the minister and it could be illegal," Leigh says.

Leigh says her warnings were ignored, and she resigned in protest before Curran started.


She says her boss, Neal Cave, also resigned over the political meddling.

If these allegations are substantiated by the State Services Commission, David Parker should be sacked from his portfolios immediately. Suggesting someone's name for a position is grossly improper, but interfering directly in an employment decision is utterly unacceptable and can not be tolerated. Parker may be clever and competant, but if he can't understand the difference between a public servant and a political operative, and insists on treating his department like a private fiefdom, then he is simply unsuitable for any Ministerial position.