The State Services Commissioner, Iain Rennie, today released the 2014 General Election guidance for State servants.
“Although the date for the 2014 General Election is yet to be announced, I want to make sure that all State servants are clear about their rights and responsibilities, as we go through 2014.” Mr Rennie said.
The role of the New Zealand State Services is to serve the government of the day without political bias towards one party or another.
“As State Services Commissioner, I see my role as a guardian of political neutrality across the State Services,” said Mr Rennie.
Politically-neutral State Services are a cornerstone of New Zealand’s democratic system - ensuring continuity of government functions regardless of which political parties make up the government. This includes paying careful attention to managing conflicts or potential conflicts between their roles as State servants and their private interests, including political loyalties, and their interests as employees.
State servants must act with loyalty to the government of the day and to successive governments, and they must work to maintain public confidence in the institutions of government by continuing to demonstrate their commitment to Ministers’ priorities and policies.
The business of government continues during election time. However, it is a well-established practice that there are restraints on some government decision making, and activities such as government advertising.
For this reason, the State Services Commission issues election guidance to ensure that, during the election period, State servants are clear about how to continue to serve Ministers professionally and impartially.
“As well as written guidance available, the Commission finds that using visual communications is an effective way to engage as many State servants as possible on their rights and responsibilities.”
To help illustrate the main themes, State Services Commission staff produced their own video. Mr Rennie described it as light-hearted but with a serious message.
The State Services Commission’s 2014 General Election Guidance has been updated since 2011 but is largely similar in substance to guidance from previous years. It includes topics such as:
Advertising and communications
Political rights of State servants
OIA releases during the election period
“The State services has a long and successful record of dealing with the kinds of issues that arise in an election year, and I am confident that the same will continue this year.”
Read the full Election Guidance for State servants www.ssc.govt.nz/election-guidance
Media enquiries: Lisa-Marie Richan, Director, SSC Communications and Head of Profession 021 244 1361