24 June 2018 - RNZ Live News

Morning Report: Simon Bridges discusses Thompson & Clark, govt conflicts

All government agencies will be scrutinised as part of an expanded probe by the State Services Commission into the use of security firm Thompson and Clark.

see firm thompson and clark R&Z has been

told that no government agency has contracted Thompson and Clark since the labor led government took power state Services Minister Chris hip khun's told Aaron Zed's that Thompson and Clark's relationships with government agencies quote certainly looks like it has been inappropriate let's speak now with the opposition leader national party leader Simon Bridges he's in the Auckland studio good morning Jurgis Suzy so the situation with Thompson Clark they were being used extensively seemingly when national was in government do you back the use of Thompson and Clark I think ultimately it's not for me to back I don't have any you know a dog in this race if you want to put it that way it's a very operational men matter that ministers didn't have anything to do with now all of that said you know my sense of some of the email trails between the public sector and Thompson and Clark are a bed lock in some cases a really bad look national party ministers didn't know about this going on well look I was in the last year I think it was a minister in charge of MB in you know in that

regard and charge or procurement but this was not something that was raised with me in relation to Thompson and Clark any of the other MPs in the National caucus that were ministers in some of the agencies that were seemingly heavily using Thompson Clark no I haven't as I say I mean I think it's deeply operational but as I say also let's be really clear some of these emails do look like a really bad look I think what is important is that the State Services Commission does do they work on this you know we do need first-class procurement principles being adhered to and if these changes that need to come as a result of this and it seems to me this certainly will be that's a very good thing it seems curious though that there has been no work contracted with them since the labor led government took office but yet there was clearly a lot of work contracted before then under the national government and you're saying that national knew nothing about it what is the relationship between Thompson Clark and the National Party well as far as I'm concerned there is no relay I don't know this firm I don't know

these people using third-party agencies to do this kind of investigating to you because ultimately I think what is true is you do need appropriate security arrangements we saw that with the ich burden wounds case and there was a need to be they're very serious about some of these things ultimately she was who has used should never be a decision for a minister of the crown that should be an operational meter but as I say I'm not I'm not trying to be in any way defensive about Thompson and Clark they mean not a lot to me and it is a situation where some of the emails do seem a very bad look it should be investigated it is and it seems to be pretty likely as it should be that there will be changes as a result okay okay what about the public service more generally the public service cap that was imposed by national was that foolish no I think was very much a reaction to what we saw and ultimately to a need for you know good value for money for taxpayers if you think about that nine years prior you know our viewers public sector went up by fifty percent but the outcomes did not and so we wanted to make sure we were getting good value so

hang on so you think it was a better idea to put a cap on the staff numbers so instead you got a blowout on pricier contractors and consultants that increased by thirty eight percent or twelve thousand full-time position ultimately the cap was a device and I don't really care what is yours but ritual value for taxpayers now to you is it good value is it good value to be using contractors and consultants essentially in public service jobs but you lost a lot more absolutely me dress that head on the reality of contractors and in fact hundreds of million were invested and engineering expertise very particular expertise around the Canterbury earthquakes and associated earthquakes now it seems to me that is absolutely right because you don't want to have expertise in-house on the basis that you know you might need it for a rainy day and so you know that we can be too hard and fast about these things but I do think there is a role for contractors and with appropriate expertise who are outside rather than in-house in those sorts of numbers because because ultimately Suzy that's

about value for taxpayers money the worry here with the removal of the capo and just say this is that you will see a spiralling of course without the outcomes and and so we'll be watching that very closely let's also talk a little bit about your comments that you made on radio hockey on Friday do you owe the are Dern gay furred family an apology no I think it's incredibly light-hearted interviewing as I made clear there and make make it clear really clear now you know I wish that the family and their little one or all the very best and happiness because wasn't hearted banter or was it actually just casual discrimination no not at all I think it's a very light-hearted interview and I would encourage people who want to I suspect our inside listeners are not necessarily listening to Hal Rickey at the same time to go and listen to the interview and full and and context to understand what was going on there yeah do you think your comments could be damaging at all no look I think it's a very light-hearted as I say you know I I encourage people to actually go and listen to that the interview and for look I am a I'm a father of three young

children myself my youngest Aguilar six months old this is a really special time for this family and I hope they can enjoy it and have time out to bond with their little one do you think you comment to a clever or ignorant no well look as I said is a very light-hearted interview I encourage people should they want to to go and listen to it and fall to keep the context and and to understand what's going on there Simon Bridges the leader of the Opposition thanks very much for your time this morning on Morning Report it's 20 to 8 a UK moved to force restaurants to add calorie counts to their menus has been watched closely in New Zealand the UK has announced their new childhood obesity plan which aims to have a base of every rates within twelve tough new measures include

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