Magazine article Public Sector

Ashburton Civic Service - Remembering Our Public Service Colleagues

Magazine article Public Sector

Ashburton Civic Service - Remembering Our Public Service Colleagues

Article excerpt

"Whenever people die at work, different communities of family, friends and colleagues are drawn together. We see different sides of people. Death illuminates the whole person.

The thoughts I have to share are about the work of public servants, such as Leigh Cleveland and Peggy Noble, and our injured colleague Lindy Curtis, whom I am pleased to say, is making progress to the relief of her family, friends and colleagues.

New Zealand is a democracy, something for which many have given their lives. Public servants rightly commit to implementing the policies of the elected government, under the law. For all of us it is a job. For many - perhaps most of us - that job includes elements of a calling, a vocation, a commitment to others.

And so it was for Leigh Cleveland and Peggy Noble and Lindy Curtis at work last week. In the Ministry of Social Development we say: "We will always be here to help people in need". Leigh and Peggy were at work, being there for people in need, when they lost their lives. Lindy was there for people in need when she was shot.

They were serving people directly by providing them with information, entitlements, and services. They will not be forgotten. Family and friends will remember and mourn them with an intimate and personal insight. Those of us who worked with them will remember their service to New Zealand.

Like our other staff, they came to work each day prepared to face the whole range of New Zealanders who seek our services and support. Like our other staff, Leigh and Peggy responded with firmness in implementing policy, with kindness in explanation, and with intelligence in seeking solutions to people's problems. You can't work on our front desks without empathy, sympathy and commitment to people.

In marking this tragedy, let's also mark the professionalism they showed on all the other, uneventful, days of their working lives. All of us who are committed to public service can take pride that Leigh and Peggy were a part of us, and realise, in their loss, the importance of our own work and the public service itself.

It is an honour to be here with both families and to share your grief.

Our respect for Leigh and Peggy has been shown by government workers throughout New Zealand marking two minutes silence a week after the event and in many other ways. It is shown in the expressions of concern for Lindy and for those affected emotionally by the experience. Most of all, our respect is shown by our continued work - often difficult, and always challenging - to help New Zealanders to help themselves to be safe, strong and independent. …

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