The single shareholder of the government business Telecom Niue who is also Minister of Finance and Infrastructure Hon. Crossley Tatui confirmed last week that he was not aware that the CEO of Telecom Brett Collier had applied for the position of Director-General of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Minister Tatui was on News of the Week programme last Friday saying that he was not consulted or at least made aware of the critical staff movements that will have an impact on the performance of Telecom.
According to the minister, he was only made aware of the situation when the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission informed him of the appointment of the DG of Infrastructure, who is to be his key advisor.
“As the single shareholder for Telecom Niue Ltd and NPNC, I was absolutely not consulted at all. Up until the point when the Chairperson of the Commission informed me as the minister responsible for Infrastructure”.
BCN news understands that the vacancy for the position of Director General(DG) of the Ministry of Infrastructure and other ministries were advertised by the Public Service Commission in early June.
On the 27 of July the interviews were conducted and a second interview was conducted for the position of DG for Infrastructure on the 10th of August.
In all this time, the Minister of Finance and Infrastructure Hon. Tatui was kept in the dark by the Board of the Telecom Niue, and was not consulted by the Public Service Commission during their recruitment of the person who will be the key advisor to this Minister for the next two years.
BCN news understands that Brett Collier was recruited several years ago initially to work for Telecom as Project Manager for 4G system and in 2019 he was appointed as CEO with a contract to end in 2023.
The minister says that he expects the CEO Collier to account for all the issues facing Telecom Niue Ltd and what is expected of him in his contract before he can take up his role as Director-General of Infrastructure.
“I see this matter as very important in terms of ensuring that the CEO accounts for his performance over and up to the point that he is the successful candidate for the post of Directo General in the Ministry of Infrastructure.”
Questions were sent to Telecom Board chairperson Avi Rubin in July included the question to confirm if the CEO of Telecom Brett Collier had applied for the position of DG of Infrastructure.
On the 28th of July the reply received from the CEO via the Chairperson said that he is a private figure and his private business is private, he will neither confirm nor deny that he had applied for the position of Director-General of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
This situation has again raised the issue of lack of communication between key institutions of government with the minister lamenting the poor communication which had kept him in the dark as the shareholder of Telecom Niue and the Minister of Infrastructure.
“As minister of finance or as a Cabinet minister I am fully aware and I’m concerned at the lack of communication, consultation and coordination across the government sectors.” Minister Tatui says that this is an area that we must improve on and he finds it difficult to understand why the current generation finds it hard to share information.
The Minister says that he is very concerned at what will happen to the operations of Telecom Niue Ltd with this controversial move and the lack of communication between the CEO, the Board of Directors and himself as the shareholder.
The Minister is also disappointed that he was not consulted or at least kept in the loop as the minister of Infrastructure by the Public Service Commission in their recruitment of the Director-General who will be his key advisor.
The Public Service Commission confirmed last week that they have spoken with Mr. Collier but “The position for MOI DG is still going thru due process”.
Questions were sent to the Public Service Commission two weeks ago, including whether Mr Collier’s current salary as an expatriate paid for by NZ Aid will be maintained if he is to be the Director-General but to date, there has been no response.
There are three Director-General positions in the public service and form part of the Public sector transformation with the first DGs appointed in 2015.