Lessons must be learnt from the MFAT leaks

Lessons must be learnt from the mistakes made in the MFAT leak investigation, following the announcement that $209,000 was paid to Paula Rebstock as part of the $500,000 cost of the report that failed to identify who leaked confidential Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade cabinet papers, the Public Service Association said today.

This was in response to answers given to an oral question in Parliament to the Minister of State Services by Labour Party MP Hon Maryan Street. “One of the most poorly-handled change management processes we have ever seen in the public sector has been followed up by this expensive and ineffective investigation,” says Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary. “The report helped to create a climate of fear at MFAT, where staff feel pressured into remaining silent amidst the worry that if they speak out, they will be victimised.

“The leak followed a consultation process that left many staff feeling unable to express their views or offer their expert opinions based on decades of public service. “From the beginning of the MFAT change process to the release of the final report on the leaks, this sorry saga has seen failure on the part of all involved.

“I urge all concerned to take on board the lessons learnt to ensure that this situation is not repeated in other parts of the public service. “If MFAT had conducted a change process that genuinely engaged with staff from the beginning, the Government would not have had any reason to waste the money spent on this report,” said Brenda Pilott.