A Labour video, which briefly featured director general of Health Ashley Bloomfield, has raised eyebrows at the State Services Commission.
The appearance of Bloomfield "could create confusion about the motivations and political neutrality of the public servants concerned," according to the Commissioner, in response to complaints.
"On balance, there is potential for questions to be raised regarding the participation of the public servants in the video."
However, given the video has since been taken down, the State Services Commission (SSC) won't investigate the matter further.
The SSC is the Government department responsible for the public sector as a whole – not too dissimilar to a Government-wide HR department.
The video, which appeared on Labour's Facebook page, showed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visiting ESR and the national contact tracing centre.
Bloomfield was featured in the background of one of the shots but didn't speak or endorse the Labour Party in any way.
It was, however, enough to draw wide criticism from National and the Taxpayers' Union, which both complained to the SSC about the video.
"It's a relief to now see a clear indication that it was inappropriate for public servants to feature in a party political advert," Taxpayers' Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke said.
"Taxpayers pay public servants to do their jobs, not to aid their Government's re-election chances."
To appear in a political party ad would compromise the political neutrality of the public servant and that of the Public Service as a whole, the Commissioner said.
The response also said that Bloomfield was not aware that the footage of him would be used in the video.
Houlbrooke said that creates a whole other set of issues, such as a breach in the Cabinet Manual – the rulebook for ministers.
The rule in question is: "Ministers must uphold the political neutrality of the public service and not ask officials to act in any way which would conflict with their obligation of neutrality".
His implication being Ardern, who is responsible for enforcing the manual, had brought Bloomfield's neutrality into question by featuring him in the video.
"Some would say that's a case of the fox guarding the henhouse."
National deputy leader Gerry Brownlee – who also complained about the video – said the SSC response was appropriate.
But he said the onus should have been on the Labour Party to let Bloomfield know what the filming was for.
"It behoves the politicians to be mindful of the professional standing of public servants."