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The Government must restart the appointment process for a third time for the Chief Technology Officer after the debacle of secret emails and meetings involving candidate Derek Handley, Nationals State Services Spokesman Nick Smith says.

“The process of appointing the CTO is so tainted that the Government needs to start again. You cannot have one candidate having secret meetings and emails with the Minister without creating inherent unfairness in the process.

“Confirmation today that the Prime Minister also had private communications and meetings with Mr Handley further adds to the suspicions of a politically biased appointment process. 

“Today’s refusal by State Services Minister Chris Hipkins to answer any question in Parliament on the secret emails from Clare Curran and on whether Mr Handley was offered the job completely contradicts the Coalition Government’s commitment to be the most open and transparent Government ever.

“The Government is hiding its dodgy dealings over this appointment where it has let political favouritism override securing the best person for the job.

It is  concerning that the key industry bodies of both IT Professionals NZ and NZ Tech have lost confidence in the process. They have described any appointment now from this shoddy process as a ‘dead duck’ reinforcing the need for it to be redone.

“The CTO is the flagship of the Government’s IT policy and is budgeted to cost the taxpayer over $500,000 per year. It is a sign of the shambles of this Government that a third try at the appointment process is required to deliver this simple policy.”  

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