Statement on Labour Party advert featuring Ashley Bloomfield
21 AUGUST 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The following can be attributed to Jordan Williams, a spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Union:
“Keeping the civil service politically neutral, particularly during the election campaign, is a cornerstone of our constitutional framework. Even having a political party film within a Government agency – let alone featuring the highest-profile civil servant within a political advert – is an abuse of power. Taxpayer-funded civil servants should not be made complicit in the governing party’s political propaganda.”
“New Zealand’s key advantage compared to the rest of the world is our lack of political polarisation saw us ‘come together’ to beat back COVID. This politicisation of the Ministry of Health’s COVID response sets us on a dangerous course. We only need to look overseas to see how the politicisation of public health messages such as wearing masks can be disastrous. What the heck were Ashley Bloomfield and the Labour Party thinking?”
“This is such a clear breach, we can’t help but wonder whether Labour deliberately did it. They would have known that even after deleting it the controversy will mean many more people will see the video. If it is an American-style stunt to deliberately break the rules, it does New Zealand no favours.”
“Our lawyers are currently in the process of preparing a complaint to the State Services Commissioner. We feel he has no option but to strongly condemn this. The video also tarnishes the reputation of the Director-General. It will be fascinating to know whether he consented to the video, or whether Labour produced it surreptitiously.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is an independent and membership-driven activist group, dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power. Its mission, lower taxes, less waste, more transparency, is supported by 57,000 subscribed members and supporters.
The Taxpayers' Union operates a 24-hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Representatives are available on (04) 282 0302.
High-resolution images and logos are available on request or online at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/resources