Wellington, July 20, 2017
Public servants who blew the whistle on fraud in the Ministry of Transport should never have lost their jobs – they deserve compensation as the State Services Commission has found.
This is a wake up-call for New Zealand and shows what weak protections we have for whistle-blowers.
We cannot expect public servants to speak out if they continue to be treated like this.
In this case, Joanne Harris defrauded a government agency of $725,000 and despite warnings from staff, the chief executive at the time failed to act. They lost their jobs, he went on to be appointed Auditor-General and is still in that post.
There is nothing decent or fair about this.
Did he or the government spare a thought for those who lost their jobs?
The honest New Zealanders who did the right thing.
They exhibited traits we value in a fair and civil society.
Clearly, it is safer to put your head down, let the crime go on and collect your pay each week.
They will get compensation now but we all know that once made redundant it is often hard to get another job. There is a permanent smudge on one’s CV.
These staff deserve our admiration instead of suffering the typical response that whistle-blowers get in this country.
Winston Peters is elected Member of Parliament from Northland Constituency and Leader of New Zealand First Party.