When will John act?

Gerry Brownlee is becoming a real risk for National. His surly and bombastic nature, in general, is off putting even to passer’s by in the street. But it is really his inherent laziness and subsequent mistakes that are really costing the government.

Idiot/Savant has revealed the short cuts taken by Gerry in appointing Jenny Shipley to the statutory board in the wake of the Canterbury Earthquake.

I was curious about how this appointment was made, so I asked about it, requesting all advice and communications about the appointment process using the Official Information Act. The resulting documents – a paper to the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee [PDF] and several letters – are quite revealing. They show that

  • Brownlee had decided who he would appoint before the law had even been introduced to Parliament;
  • The appointment process does not seem to have followed SSC guidelines [PDF]. It does not seem to have been advertised, even in the broad sense used by SSC; no long or short-list of candidates was drawn up [PDF]; no interviews appear to have been conducted to confirm the suitability of the candidates. It appears as if Brownlee pulled these names out of his arse, and then imposed them on us. The people of Canterbury, of course, were not consulted.
  • To add insult to injury, having appointed these people with no proper process, Brownlee then decided to pay them at triple the normal rate [PDF], on the basis that “it will not be possible to secure their services under the current fees range”. No effort appears to have been made to find candidates who would do the work within the government’s budget. This was agreed to by State Services Minister Tony Ryall [PDF].

Now I am not going to get into the personal attacks he has made on New Zealand’s first woman Prime Minister. She is a very capable manager, executive and of course once led the country. Plus she is from the area originally. I will however agree that the process is messy and looks bad, which is probably a good description of Gerry Brownlee himself.

Taking shortcuts always trips you up. The wonder is that John Key hasn’t moved to neutralise the constant mistakes of Gerry Brownlee.

The brat pack won’t be too happy either with their preferred candidate to replace John Key getting caught up in this balls up.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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