A fortnight ago I wrote a post about how the government’s conduct in office makes them vulnerable to accusations of cronyism and a tendency to be vague about the boundary between the political and the personal. In the past week, two more events have come to light which fit this narrative.
The lesser of the two is former National minister Roger McClay winding up in court for claiming mileage and expenses from his non-profit employer when they were paid for by the parliamentary service. It’s a long time since he was in parliament, but the episode speaks to the character of senior National party members.
More egregious is the decision to appoint former National Deputy Prime Minister Wyatt Creech to stitch up Environment Canterbury, which makes a great one-two punch with the news that they want to appoint former National Prime Minister Jenny Shipley as Commissioner. Thanks to I/S at No Right Turn for joining these dots.
Christchurch Central Labour MP Brendon Burns has made his views pretty plain, and as a consequence, the scrutiny may discourage the appointment. That’s the thing about keeping an eye on cronyism: it enables an opposition to punish a government brutally for both its past and its current misdeeds, and it brings a level of scrutiny from the media and other public agencies which has a chilling effect on further misdeeds. Even aside from the partisan advantages this brings, that’s good for democracy either way. Of course, in order to take full advantage of this narrative, Labour has to come out and actually denounce Taito Phillip Field’s own corruption during his time as a Labour minister. That’d be good for democracy, too.
The head of Genesis as Commissioner of Environment Canterbury, Richard Dawkins as the next Arch-Bishop of Canterbury.
Well, yeah, that too. And Creech being a dairy man and all.
Wyatt Creech, Director of open Country Cheese who if i am not mistaken is causing some issues on water usage and pollution.
Forget Jenny Shipley, I have two much more suitable candidates for the preferred National Water Stooge for Canterbury.
1. Those nice Crafar brothers. They must be at a lose end since having their insolvent dairying empire taken off them. Good background in a water-intensive rural industry.
2. Donna Awatere-Huata. Background in politics with fav National support party ACT. Governance expert. Whats not to like?
Rankin on the Families Commission, even the arch-bigot Brian Neeson on the Human Rights Review Tribunal. Douglas back in Parliament on the Act list.
The must have a pearler lined up for Prebble – maybe Chair of Auckland Transport so he can “Save Rail” again.
@John Dee – yes, Open Country Dairy Limited was convicted of 11 counts of illegal effluent discharges in 2007.
Is not John Key a shareholder in Open?
Wyatt Creech just has to be a Dickens creation. He’s Uriah Heep’s twin.
I knew McClay would eventually end up in court. I just thought it would be his long struggle with alcohol that got him there.
Phil Heatley for the Accounting Standards Review Board?
Brian Gaynor writing in the NZ Heraldâ€™s Business section last Saturday wrote an article the leap former politicians make into the business world, and that for the most part, they are not successful.
He names and assesses 16 ex-MPâ€™s who have joined the boardroom, and rates their performance, reserving his strongest disappointment for Jenny Shipley and his highest praise for Jim McLay.