The State Services Commission has launched inquiries into the unauthorised release of Government information relating to a stocktake of Crown minerals, and leaks relating to a Cabinet paper on proposed state service restructures.

The first inquiry, announced today by State Services Commissioner Ian Rennie, follows public uproar from conservation groups about the Government's proposals to allow mining in high-value conservation land.

Mr Rennie said it related to the disclosure of information relating to a Cabinet paper on the "Stocktake of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991".

The Government last year carried out a stocktake of minerals in the conservation estate, and is considering taking parts of it out of the schedule in the Crown Minerals Act which protected it from mining.

Forest and Bird spokesman Kevin Hackwell said this week the organisation had "learnt" the Government wanted mining to be allowed in West Coast's Paparoa National Park, Great Barrier Island and on the Coromandel Peninsula.

The second inquiry involved the "unauthorised disclosure" of information relating to a "machinery of government" Cabinet paper on proposed changes to the structure of the state sector.

Unofficial reports emerged last week that the Government was looking at rolling the National Library and Archives New Zealand into the Department of Internal Affairs, merging the Food Safety Authority with MAF, and amalgamating the Foundation for Science, Research and Technology with the ministry of the same name.

The reports were not denied by the Government.

A State Services Commission spokesman said today the investigations, called for by State Services Minister Tony Ryall, involved information which had recently been in the news media, including Forest and Bird's claims.

Mr Ryall said he wouldn't comment until he had received the reports, but that any unauthorised disclosure of government information was a serious matter that could undermine trust in the public service.

Labour's state services spokesman Grant Robertson said the leaks were a result of the Government's secrecy about important public issues, and that it needed to look at its own handling of them instead of starting a "witch-hunt".

In relation to public sector restructuring, he said the Government had not even talked to key stakeholders involved in areas affected by the proposed mergers in the state sector.

"Mucking around with agencies like the Food Safety Authority and Archives New Zealand" had far-reaching consequences for the public, which didn't appear to be having a say, Mr Robertson said.

He said he understood the investigations had been underway for more than a week and appeared to be a result of pressure from ministers.

"Given the Government's handling of these issues it is not surprising that public servants want to blow the whistle.

"The Government is serial leaker of information when it suits them. They need to take a good look in the mirror, rather than wasting resources on a witch-hunt of these whistleblowers."

Mr Rennie said ministers needed to be able to continue to have trust in those who worked with them around issues that could at times be difficult, and confidentiality was expected from public servants when appropriate.

A commission spokesman said the inquiries would be given high priority.

Advice would be given to Prime Minister John Key and Mr Ryall on what further actions could be taken to deter unauthorised disclosure of government information.

- NZPA