3 Apr 2012

McCully's role in MFAT restructure questioned again

9:01 pm on 3 April 2012

Opposition MPs have again questioned the role of Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully in restructuring at MFAT.

Staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have expressed outrage at proposals to make savings of $24 million, including cuts to overseas allowances and the loss of up to 300 jobs.

Senior diplomatic staff and the ministry met over the issue on Monday and Tuesday.

Murray McCully is on a trip to China and on Tuesday Chris Finlayson answered questions on his behalf about how involved the minister has been in the change process.

"He's not a micro-manager. His name is McCully - not Stalin or Helen Clark."

The answer prompted much laughter in the House.

Chris Finlayson said Mr McCully has expressed reservations about the change proposals to the chief executive in a manner that is appropriate under the State Sector Act.

Outside the House, Prime Minister John Key said there has been robust debate at the meeting and progress was being made.

He expected that the final restructuring package would be a bit different to what was first outlined.

However, Labour Party leader David Shearer said the damage has already been done.