Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says KiwiBuild chief executive Stephen Barclay’s absence from work has nothing to do with the KiwiBuild policy or the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme.
Media reports suggest Barclay has been absent for about six weeks due to an employment dispute following the KiwiBuild unit’s transfer to the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
While the Herald over the weekend reported he left his job only five months after he was appointed, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development said he hadn’t resigned.
Grilled on what was happening, Ardern in a post-Cabinet press conference on Monday said it was an “operational matter” so she couldn’t comment.
She did however say: “The Chief Executive [of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development], Andrew Crisp, advises me that this has nothing to do with the KiwiBuild policy or the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme.”
Ardern said she had spoken to Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford “very briefly” about the matter.
Asked whether she believed the situation with Barclay compromised the KiwiBuild programme, she said: “I’m seeking assurances of course from the Minister that his work continues.”
Ardern was asked a number of other questions, but conceded it wasn’t a matter for her to comment on, so she intended to be “boring” with her responses.
Barclay's career spans construction, consulting, event management and government. Before taking up the KiwiBuild role, he was 'Chief People and Transformation Officer' at the Ministry of Health. Prior to that he was CEO of the San Francisco America's Cup Events Authority.