Stephen Franks on the GCSB issue

Grant Robertson will be suffering in his jocks with the post from Stephen Franks today. He probably won’t suffer too much as he is reputed to use fabric softener on his jocks and with his leadership challenge weight-loss programme going along nicely there is a bit more room as well.

Franks though gives him and his shopped lines to the media a good kick in the slats.

Interesting to see even the sophisticated Peter Cresswell parrotting the establishment line that Ministers should stay out of appointing their own direct reports.

But disconcerting that he casually throws in “separation of powers” as if Key has infringed some constitutional principle.

Peter that convention/principle urges separation and mutual respect and a balance between the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Legislature.

The Prime Minister is the leader of the Executive. He should have a vital interest in who reports to him, in every portfolio. The current convention that Ministers get a veto power after an independent vetting process is not prejudiced by a Minister shoulder tapping candidates to suggest they put themselves forward. Separation of powers is an important constitutional protection. It is cheapened by attempted application to criticise actions entirely confined to the Executive. 

The weak link in our defence of appointment quality is the SSC. If the SSC does not have enough mana to insist on its standards in the vetting and short-listing there is ample room for the appointment of incompetent cronies whatever the formal restrictions on Ministers.

The media lapping up the opposition line should think to ask Mr Robertson “what would stop a future government ensuring that a third party does the shoulder tapping of favoured candidates, if it was true that a Minister should not do it directly?”.

Our media promote pathetic debate.


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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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