State servants are facing increasing political scrutiny as some push for a seat in Parliament while hanging on to their day jobs.
The Families Commission faced accusations of “politicisation” from Opposition MPs yesterday after one of its commissioners was spotted supposedly campaigning with Prime Minister John Key.
During a parliamentary select committee hearing yesterday, Labour MP Rajen Prasad, himself a former chief families commissioner, said current commissioner Parmjeet Parmar was pushing for a spot on the National Party list and was already campaigning.
He said he had seen her with Key wearing a blue party rosette at the Pasifika Festival in Auckland during the weekend.
Parmar is a Government appointee, not a state servant. And the irony of the accusation coming from Dr Prasad who became a Labour MP in the same year as he was Chief Families Commissioner!
She said another staff member was intending to run as candidate for Labour, which he had declared to the commission. They had already discussed with him how to separate his political activities from his work.
Labour’s view is that it is only wrong for people at the Families Commission to stand for Parliament, if it is not for Labour!
The staff member who is a Labour candidate is Rob McCann, who is the White Ribbon Campaign Manager at the Families Commission. He’s not just wearing the odd rosette – he’s personally attacking Government Ministers on his Facebook page:
- “Good to see Labour tackling what has been such an intrusive and yet secretive government. Odd how Key is happy to spy on us, yet call in the police over a teapot tape.”
- “Excellent day fundraising with the Waikanae Branch of the Labour Party. All proceeds going towards giving John Key a permanent holiday in Hawaii.”
But worse of all, he is promoting a graphic attacking the very Minister in charge of the Families Commission:
I’m all for public servants being able to stand for Parliament. Tim Groser did so. But I’ve never before seen a public servant promoting graphics personally attacking the Minister in charge of the body that employs them. I suggest Mr McCann views the recent SSC video!
I note that several of his attacks on Government Ministers on his Facebook page are done during work hours, such as this one at 10.30 am last Thursday or this one on Tuesday at 11.12 am. So presumably he’s doing his attacks while at work.