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Chair of Southern Response resigns after spying scandal

Southern Response chair Ross Butler has resigned following the release of the State Services Commissioner’s report on the Government-owned insurer's use of external security consultants.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods released a statement tonight saying she has accepted Mr Butler's resignation.

"This follows today’s release of the State Services Commissioner’s report into the use of external security consultants. 

"Early this year, I saw emails between Southern Response and the private investigation firm Thompson and Clark. These emails were concerning and I reported them to the State Services Commissioner who launched the investigation that has reported back today.

"The actions by Southern Response revealed in today’s report do not meet my expectations as Minister," Ms Woods says.

Mr Butler has also resigned from his roles on the boards Otakaro Ltd and Regenerate Christchurch.

A report was released today after an inquiry that looked at 131 state sector agencies and investigated whether public servants or contractors breached the State Services code of conduct in their use of security consultants, including Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited (TCIL).

It found Southern Response, a Crown company, acted inconsistently with the code of conduct when TCIL on the agency's behalf, attended and recorded several closed meetings of insurance claimants.

"In the coming days I will be appointing an interim Chair of Southern Response," says Megan Woods.

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An investigation found firm Thompson and Clark was engaged to spy on the quake claimants. Source: 1 NEWS


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