Rob Campbell fired from Environmental Protection Authority chair role

Rob Campbell has been fired as the chair of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

It follows his sacking as Te Whatu Ora/HealthNZ chair on Tuesday.

The decision has just been announced by Environment Minister David Parker.

"Today I have decided to exercise my power under section 36 of the Crown Entities Act to remove Rob Campbell from this role on the EPA board, effective today," Parker said.

"I have accepted the Public Service Commissioner's advice that Rob Campbell's LinkedIn comments in relation to National's policies and its leader is a clear breach of the Code of Conduct requirements that he act politically impartially and retains his ability to work effectively under current and future governments.

"Also, his subsequent public comments in the media suggest he does not accept the constraints he is under as a member and chair of a Crown Entity Board.

"That has eroded my trust and confidence in his ability to effectively undertake his role at the EPA.

"Despite this decision, I wish to acknowledge the good work Rob Campbell has done at the EPA and wish him well for the future.

"I will announce a replacement EPA chair in due course," Parker said.

Campbell caused controversy with LinkedIn comments on Sunday critical of National's Three Waters announcement. Public servants are meant to be politically impartial.

The now-former Health NZ chair said his comments were made in a private capacity and he didn't believe they would erode public trust in his ability to conduct his role.

"The code enjoins directors to be 'honest and open', to be 'fair' and to 'speak up'," he told Newshub after he was sacked from Te Whatu Ora.

"The code explicitly provides for a director to act in their 'private capacity' which I did. The limit on that is not to act in a way which 'could erode the public’s trust in the entity'. There is no way my comments impacted Te Whatu Ora in that way."

He told Newshub on Wednesday he didn't "see any reason why I shouldn't stay" at the EPA. He also claimed he had been the victim of a "witchhunt".

Campbell said he had apologised to National leader Christopher Luxon "for any personal distress I caused, which he graciously accepted". Luxon has confirmed Campbell apologised and it was accepted.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the comments were "inappropriate".

"There is a code of conduct around political comment by people who hold those roles and his comments fall well outside that," Hipkins said.