MPs relatives as staff members

The HoS reports:

Politicians could find it harder to hire relatives in taxpayer-funded jobs after changes to the way support staff are recruited.

After the General Election, Parliamentary Services will require job applicants to register on an electronic recruitment system that will favour candidates with experience.

The majority of the 730 staff have to reapply for jobs at the end of each three-year parliamentary term.

Under new guidelines issued by the Speaker, Parliamentary Services can block an MP from hiring staff if they are “clearly lacking the skills to meet the requirements of the role”.

MPs are not allowed to employ their spouse or partner, in or outside Parliament, or any dependents. But many MPs filled their offices with immediate family members.

NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor employs two of her daughters, Fleur and Amy, in her Papatoetoe office.

Lole-Taylor appeared unaware of the rules around hiring family members as staff. “Is that a rule that they’re not allowed to be employed?”

My God.

I don’t think MPs should hire as staff any close relative. That is a partner, parent, sibling or child. Beyond that, it is a judgement call. I wouldn’t ban cousins, nephews nieces, but MPs should be aware that hiring any relative may prove to be a problem if it turns out they are not very good at their job. How do you sack your cousin?

The HoS editorial:

All other things being equal, an MP may have good reason to prefer a relative.

Politics is a public business and staff need to be especially loyal and alert to the publicity that can be attracted when a problem is badly handled.

But MPs are also role models in their community. If nepotism is evident in their staff appointments the practice may spread to local organisations of all sorts.

Nepotism is not good policy. It is unfair to those better qualified, it can bring family issues into the office and can be a job creation scheme for next of kin. Parliament needs to stop it.

It is basically stopped in that the rules do not allow partners or children to be hired. I would extend that to siblings and parents. What is needed though is for MPs to follow the rules.

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