MPI said in a statement, it had evidence of “serious staff misconduct” from two former staffers who had left the department a couple of years ago.
The ministry revealed it had requested the commissioner to include it in the investigation, after an apparent Official Information lead to a discovery of emails between former members of its staff and Thompson & Clark.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries has uncovered evidence of potential serious staff misconduct relating to events that occurred some years ago. This involved several employees who no longer work for MPI,” acting director-general Bryan Wilson said.
“The conduct was of a sufficiently serious nature that MPI has referred it to the State Services Commission for consideration.”
Wilson said the department was “extremely disappointed” to learn that past employees had potentially breached the Code of Conduct, “our trust, and by proxy the trust that was given to them by the New Zealanders that we serve”.
This sounds pretty serious. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the inquiry.