Nice guy or not, he’s still the one responsible

David Farrar writes: Quote:

This is a terrible look. I know the PM’s Chief of Staff and he is a good guy. I don’t think he would have personally been involved in the decision as to which recruitment company to use. But it is still a conflict of interest that should have been avoided.

I don’t even know why a recruitment company was used. Ministerial Services has no less than five “Resourcing Specialists” whose jobs I presume are to recruit staff for ministerial offices.

The company in question is a well respected one, which has done some work for Ministerial Services before. But as far as I can recall a recruitment company has never been used in the past for the role of chief press secretary. This is the most high profile job in the administration and normally you just head hunt whom you want for it. If you advertise there tends to be no shortage of applicants, so it is not a role that has needed a recruitment company. They normally get used for harder to fill roles.

So again I don’t think the Chief of Staff would have been involved in the decision, but I think it does create a conflict which should have been avoided. End quote.

Good guy or not, the buck stops at the top. Mike Munro is the chief of staff; there is no one higher than him. He makes all the staffing and spending decisions. He cannot have not been involved in the decision to outsource this.

Therefore, I don’t think he can slip away from ownership of this. He has to have known about who was doing the recruiting. Media sources and former ministerial staff I have spoken to say that this level of job is never outsourced to a recruitment company. Someone had to make a decision and sign off a spend of more than $40,000.

Questions that I will be asking via the OIA will be:

  1. Who made the decision to outsource recruitment of the chief press secretary to the prime minister to JacksonStone & Partners?
  2. What advice was received, if any, of a potential conflict of interest?
  3. Did the chief of staff to the prime minister highlight a potential conflict of interest? If so, to whom?
  4. What advice was given by Ministerial Services regarding recruitment processes for the chief press secretary to the prime minister?
  5. How much has been paid to JacksonStone & Partners for recruitment advice and processes?
  6. Who authorised any payments to JacksonStone & Partners for recruitment advice and processes?
  7. Have any payment been made and how were they calculated? if they haven’t been made, how will they be calculated?
  8. How many recruitment agencies were approached or offered a role in sourcing candidates for the role of chief press secretary to the prime minister?
  9. Please provide any and all correspondence, including emails, memos, aide memoires, reports, job descriptions and market-rate advice, between the chief of staff to the prime minister and any other person or organisation in relation to the recruitment for the role of chief press secretary to the prime minister.
  10. Have JacksonStone & Partners been retained by Ministerial Services for any other recruitment since 1 October 2017, and if so for what roles?

Good guy or not, friends with the press gallery journalists or not… this is not a good look.

Labour made much of a cup of tea in China without a single hint of any sort of financial inducement involved and made calls for heads to roll for conflicts of interest. Amazingly, there is almost complete silence over this strange occurrence where the wife of the chief of staff gets to recruit the person who will report to the chief of staff, and also benefits financially from the transaction.

So much for honesty and transparency from the prime minister and her promises that her government would be the most transparent yet.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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