Code of Conduct gives new government a fresh start

Clarity around the distinctive and different roles and responsibilities of independent public servants and political staff will give the incoming government and its staff a fresh start, says Public Service Association national secretary Glenn Barclay.

The Code of Conduct for Ministerial staff, introduced by the State Services Commission today, will support political staff so they don’t overstep the mark when working with independent public servants.

"Political staff are public servants too. They deserve State Service Commission guidance around standards of integrity and conduct as much as any other group," Glenn Barclay says.

"Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear to the PSA that more tangible supports are needed to protect public servants for perceived or actual misconduct. Political advisors can be subject to pressure from a range of sources. This code will provide them with some protections as well as helping the delivery of free and frank advice.

"All public servants, whether under the State Services Code of Conduct or the Ministerial Code of Conduct, now have guidance around recognising and respecting the roles and responsibilities of their colleagues," Glenn Barclay said.

The PSA says there is space within New Zealand’s constitutional framework for political advisors to sit alongside independent public servants. But says it is critical that there are parameters around each role to protect the individuals involved as well as the integrity of our democracy.