External security consultants’ inquiry broadened
19 June 2018
**UPDATE** Please note the Terms of Reference have been updated as of 08 November 2018.
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has widened an inquiry into the use of external security consultants to cover all of the State services.
On 16 March Mr Hughes appointed Doug Martin to investigate the circumstances, reasons and outcome of Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited's engagement of external security consultants, including Thompson & Clark Investigations Ltd (TCIL). On 27 March Mr Hughes widened the inquiry terms of reference to include the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's relationship with TCIL.
The Commissioner is concerned about what has surfaced in the inquiry to date and new information now available relating to other government agencies. He has therefore decided to broaden and deepen the inquiry.
The fresh material came to light in Official Information Act requests to the Ministry of Primary Industries and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.
"What I have seen raises serious questions about the nature of engagement between Thompson and Clark and State sector agencies," said Mr Hughes.
"As a result I have decided to widen the terms of reference to cover all State services agencies.
"I need assurance that the use of, or contact with, external security consultants by government agencies is consistent with the State Services Code of Conduct.
"I have issued expanded terms of reference that allow Mr Martin to include all State services agencies in his investigation."
Mr Hughes has appointed Simon Mount QC to bolster the investigation team and work alongside Mr Martin, who will continue to lead the inquiry.
The inquiry is likely to take another few months to complete.
The investigation is using the Commissioner's functions and powers under the State Sector Act 1988. The Act grants extensive powers of inquiry to the State Services Commissioner or his delegate. This includes the legal power to require the production of any records, files or other information, require government employees to answer questions and enter government premises.
The Commissioner will not be making further comment until the investigation is finished.
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