Mark Prebble has announced he is standing down at State Services Commissioner in June, a year before his contract expires.
In recent years some of Dr Prebble's actions have been controversial, and he has attracted some deserved criticism – specifically over his role in withholding some Corngate papers from an OIA request and his role in the Setchell affair – especially that ill advised article he wrote which turned out to be incorrect.
But at the time of his retirement, i prefer to focus on his contribution over the last 30 years. He made a superb contribution at Treasury and rose to be Deputy Secretary. Many think he should have become Secretary but his surname held him back.
At head of initially the policy advisory group and then the entire DPMC, he served both National and Labour loyally – maybe too loyally at times. But I recall Helen Clark attacking him for being a high priest of the new right (when appointed to DPMC), and how he just sent her a polite letter asking if there was any actual thing he had done which made her doubt his neutrality – and there wasn't – she just attacked him because of his former role at Treasury and his surname.
It is somewhat remarkable they became so close, after her attack on him. Maybe that is why he sometimes overcompensated.
Prebble's choice of a career in the public service has (reportedly) meant he has not had a private conversation or meeting with his brother Richard for some decades – to protect his career.
So while there have been some blemishes towards the end, I think NZ is the better off for his contributions over 30 years, and thank him for his service.