23 Nov 2014

Call for Rennie to quit over Sutton case

8:50 pm on 23 November 2014

Labour leader Andrew Little says the State Services Commissioner should step down over his mishandling of the resignation of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) head Roger Sutton.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie. Photo: RNZ

Mr Sutton quit last week after an investigation upheld complaints of sexual harassment against him.

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Commissioner Iain Rennie had been under pressure over the CERA chief's resignation a press conference and a breach of confidentiality.

Mr Sutton was also hugged by chief executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Andrew Kibblewhite at the conference.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie. Photo: RNZ

Mr Little told TVNZ's Q+A programme it appeared Mr Rennie ignored advice not to allow Mr Sutton to attend the press conference.

He said that suggested to him the State Services Commissioner was unfit for the job.

"He's got to now be stood down, whether it's Paula Bennett or John Key and there's got to be an investigation or an inquiry into how it is he came to that sort of judgement.

"Because that's such a huge departure from the sort of standards he's meant to be upholding as State Services Commissioner."

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue said Mr Sutton should not have been allowed to make comments which seemed to trivialise his behaviour - which Mr Rennie had said amounted to serious misconduct.

Greens co-leader, Russel Norman said the situation was a mess and the Government needed to clean it up.

He said public servants needed to be confident that if they made this type of complaint then they would be treated fairly.

Dr Norman said State Services Minister Paula Bennett needed to deal with the fallout from the resignation.

Andrew Little

Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

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