Revelations that three government departments have been conducting polling into people’s political persuasions is wrong and compromises the political neutrality of the public service, says National’s State Services spokesperson Nick Smith.

“Government Departments polling people on their political views is plain wrong. It is a waste of public money and it blurs the boundary between the State and political parties. The practice must end to protect the political neutrality of the public service.

“The sort of polling done by Inland Revenue corrodes public confidence in the public service. It risks policy advice being targeted towards the supporters of whomever may be in Government when we want tax policy that is good for all New Zealanders.

“There is a worrying trend under this Government of its departments and others doing work that Ministers and MPs should be doing themselves.

“We have more than 200 working groups doing the job of developing policy that should have been done in when Labour was in Opposition. We have taxpayer funded contractors like Sir Michael Cullen attacking the Opposition. We now have departments doing polling work that should be left to political parties.

“New Zealand needs to jealously guard our democratic traditions where there is a clear separation between the state and political parties.

“These Government agencies need to fess up the amount they have spent on these dubious polls and the State Services Commissioner needs to put an end to any more being done.”

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