Another public sector boss has been publicly sharing political opinions but at this stage it seems unlikely he’ll be sacked like outspoken former Te Whatu Ora chair Rob Campbell.
Former Labour Minister Steve Maharey – who is now the board chair at Pharmac, ACC and Education NZ – writes a newspaper column and has frequently attacked National.
Board chairs are bound by a code of ethics to stay politically neutral.
Maharey compared the National Party to the Republican Party in the US, said National has never been “the party of change” and that Christopher Luxon’s brand rests on him being “a good manager (of an airline)”.
Campbell – who was fired twice last week for attacking National – has called it hypocrisy.
But Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said there was a difference because Maharey approached the Government about the columns.
“He’s already been in contact, seeking feedback on that and he’s certainly willing to take that feedback on board.”
Hipkins said he doesn’t “expect perfection” and Maharey accepted that his column could be a problem – unlike Campbell.
“One of the challenges with Rob Campbell last week is that he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong and continues to assert that he hadn’t done anything wrong. That’s clearly not the case here.”