10 Dec 2014

Rennie: Briefing with Sutton a mistake

4:16 pm on 10 December 2014

The State Services Commissioner has admitted he made a mistake in holding a joint media conference with the former executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Roger Sutton.

Iain Rennie, left, and Roger Sutton, who  announced his resignation

Iain Rennie, left, and Roger Sutton, who announced his resignation in Christchurch last month. Photo: RNZ

In a speech to the Public Service Association today, Ian Rennie said he deeply regrets allowing Mr Sutton to speak when the woman who made a sexual harassment complaint against him could not.

Mr Sutton resigned from his role last month after a sexual harassment complaint against him was upheld.

Mr Rennie said the media conference showed that he, and consequently the public service, did not take unacceptable behaviour seriously enough.

He said he had apologised to the woman who reported Mr Sutton, and was reviewing the processes around how the commission dealt with complaints.

Prime Minister John Key believed Mr Rennie's apology was the right thing to do, and he also received an apology from the commissioner at a meeting today.

However, Labour Party leader Andrew Little has repeated his call for Mr Rennie to step down, saying the apology was not enough.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs