Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Govt leak report cost more than $200,000

Paula Rebstock has released her report into MFAT leak.  Photo / NZPA
Paula Rebstock has released her report into MFAT leak. Photo / NZPA

Government's "fix-it" woman Paula Rebstock was paid $208,907 to write a report on the leaking of ministerial documents, Government has revealed.

Labour criticised the report this afternoon, saying it had omitted important advice and compromised the careers of two senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officials despite finding no one guilty of the leak.

The report, published in December, found that a former Labour Party staffer working at the State Services Commission and some MFAT staff were probably responsible for the leaks although it found no definitive evidence.

The 18-month investigation cost $513,434 in total.

Attorney General Chris Finlayson, speaking on behalf of the State Services Minister, revealed Ms Rebstock's fee under questioning from the Labour Party in Parliament today.

Labour state services spokeswoman Maryan Street asked Government whether it felt the report was robust.

She cited QC Bruce Corkill's legal opinion on the report, which said that it was unfair, misleading and contained flaws, basic errors of fact, and omissions.

Ms Street also asked why advice from senior civil servant Sir Maarten Wevers was disregarded by Ms Rebstock.

"The Government clearly has an agenda to appoint only those people who will tell it what it wants to hear," she said in a statement.

Mr Finlayson said he stood by the report and accused Labour of politicising the public service.

"On the core issue about politicisation of the civil service by the Labour Party, the report is very robust indeed," he said.

Mr Finlayson noted that it was an independent inquiry prompted by the State Services Commissioner, not by ministers.

Ms Rebstock is the Accident Compensation Corporation chairwoman and has previously headed the Commerce Commission and the Welfare Working Group.

- NZ Herald

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