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Clerk defends Parliament’s ‘integrity’

Monday October 13, 2014 Written by Published in Politics
Clerk of Parliament John Tangi. Clerk of Parliament John Tangi.

Clerk of Parliament John Tangi is defending his fellow staff members amidst mounting criticism after last week’s controversial sitting.

Following criticism on the handling of matters during last Wednesday’s Parliamentary sitting by MP’s James Beer and Teina Bishop, John Scott  –  a former Clerk with over a decade of experience in the role – has also added his voice to the chorus.
Published in yesterday’s edition of CINews, Scott penned a full-page letter to the editor that described the evening sitting as “a complete shambles”.
In the letter, he criticises the conduct of Speaker Niki Rattle and Clerk Tangi during the lead-up to the sitting and business conducted through the evening; including the election of the speaker, a confidence vote, and the passing
of an income tax amendment bill.
He wrote “... one could be forgiven for concluding that the Parliament staff’s loyalty was to Government rather than Parliament.”
When asked for comment, Tangi said he did not agree with Scott’s critique.
With respect to the election of Rattle as Speaker, he said it was “... done in accordance to the provision of the Constitution Amendment 24”, which he says permits only the PM to nominate a Speaker.
“(Prime Minister Henry Puna’s) appoint by Warrant to this Office is still valid. His appointment was not revoked or terminated, and his re-instatement as the Member of Parliament for Manihiki constituency enabled him to continue in that Office,” wrote Tangi.
“My decision to accept the PMs nomination of Mrs Niki Rattle as the Speaker, and seconded by Hon. Mark Brown, was on the basis of holding the Supreme Law of this Nation (The Constitution).”
Tangi added, “The proceeding during the first sitting was done with good intentions, and nothing sinister about it.”
“I would have done exactly the same thing if it was a Democratic Party led Government in Office. And I suppose I would still be called a “tool of the administration.”
In planning for the sitting, Tangi acknowledged that there would be matters where consultation is held directly with the prime minister, but has encouraged Parliamentary staff to remain politically neutral.
“... I have up to now done these with integrity and maintaining political neutrality,” he wrote in an email.
“All my staff members are hard working individuals of this institution, and I have a lot of respect for them.
“The same way I respect Mr John Scott, a former Clerk with wealth of experience in Parliamentary work. Any former Clerk of this institution will always have my respect.”
“Of course I do not, for now, have the wealth of experience and knowledge that Mr John Scott has, but I am learning and trying my best to uphold this Office with honour, respect and dignity.”

Original letter from John Scott http://bit.ly/1trvWPt

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