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14 November 2007
In responding to the Hunn report and the findings of the State Services Commissioner's assessment of the Director General's actions in dealing with the issues relating to Madeleine Setchell's possible recruitment to a role in MAF, the Director General Murray Sherwin today said:
"At MAF, we take integrity and public sector neutrality very seriously. Madeleine Setchell's expression of interest in a senior communications role at MAF was, to my mind, a situation where the Minister should be both informed and provided with an opportunity to comment. Providing him with that opportunity was my call, and at no stage did I feel that doing so in anyway lessened my responsibility to make the necessary decisions.
"As the report of the State Services Commissioner notes, within MAF this matter was 'largely well handled'. He further comments, however, that '...the discussion [with the Minister] was not strictly necessary'. The Commissioner is, of course, entirely accurate in that assessment.
"I regret that Madeline's name and professional reputation has become a matter of such intense public exposure through no fault of her own. We hold Madeleine in the highest regard and wish her well in her future career," said Mr Sherwin.
Mr Sherwin is currently overseas and it is not intended that he, or the Ministry, will offer any further comment on this matter.