Labour MP annoyed at ministry directive to colleague
A directive from the Ministry of Education telling an opposition MP that information requests needed to be answered by the minister was a communications blunder, the ministry says.Labour Party state services spokesman Grant Robertson said he would write t
A directive from the Ministry of Education telling an opposition MP that information requests needed to be answered by the minister was a communications blunder, the ministry says.
Labour Party state services spokesman Grant Robertson said he would write to the commission and ask it to investigate after MP Ruth Dyson made an inquiry to the ministry regarding policy about funding for disabled students.
She said she was trying to support the parents of a student whose support funding had been cut and was told that operational issues raised at a local level by government MPs could be dealt with locally, but requests for information from non-government MPs needed to go to the relevant minister formally for a response.
Mr Robertson said Ms Dyson had received information about the case since the request, but that serious questions needed to be asked if a senior ministry adviser was giving such directives.
He said he planned to write to the State Services Commission to ask that it investigate the issue and provide an assurance to all MPs that they will be treated fairly when advocating on behalf of their constituents.
State Services Minister Tony Ryall said there was no distinction between government and non-government MPs for requests for information from the Ministry of Education and that had looked into the matter and made sure information requested by Ms Dyson was made available.
The ministry said today the directive given to Ms Dyson appeared to be the result of a staff member misunderstanding the rules.
Senior ministry manager Jim Matheson said the error was "regrettable".
"The ministry will take steps to ensure such an error will not be repeated," he said.
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