7 Mar 2014

Declaring allegiances 'inappropriate'

6:10 pm on 7 March 2014

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie says it would be inappropriate for Television New Zealand to require its staff to declare any formal political allegiances.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie. Photo: RNZ

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick told a select committee on Thursday that rule might have to be introduced after revelations some staff used the company's resources to host and organise Labour Party meetings.

Mr Rennie says public servants must keep their job out of their politics and vice versa.

However, he says it would not be appropriate for any state-sector organisation to monitor or keep a register of their staff's political views or affiliations.

"It's a very crude and heavy-handed response to a situation that is always likely to apply to a very small number of state servants."

Mr Rennie says state servants have the same right as any other citizen, although political involvement could be seen as a conflict of interest in some circumstances and would have to be dealt with, depending on the person's role.