Red Alert

Crony Watch #2

Posted by on May 27th, 2011

A while back I asked why the NBR doesn’t run it’s ‘Crony Watch’ column anymore. When Labour was in government they were very quick to critiscise when anyone who had any connection to the Labour Party was appointed to any sort of board or committee. Strangely they haven’t been as vocal and vigilant since National came to power, but there are certainly plenty of examples they could be highlighting. For example:

  • John Key’s electorate chairman, Stephen McElrea, has been given a role on a working group selecting proposals for taxpayer-funded political documentaries about health, education, welfare and law and order. He is also the deputy chair of NZ on Air, who get to choose which Kiwi TV shows get taxpayer subsidies.
  • Richard Griffin, former press secretary to the last National government (and often confused for the former PM) has been appointed Chair of the Board of Radio New Zealand.
  • Former National MP and Cabinet Minister Roger Sowry appointed to the Board of the Electricity Authority and to Chair the Councils of two polytechnics.
  • Former National MP and Leader Don Brash appointed to Chair the government’s 2025 taskforce.
  • Unsuccessful National Party candidate, and next on their list, Conway Powell, appointed to the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
  • Alastair Scott, who unsuccessfully tried to roll John Hayes as National candidate in the Wairarapa, was rewarded with a seat on the Crown Health Funding Agency.
  • National’s candidate in Mt Albert, Ravi Musuku, was rewarded with a slot on the Human Rights Review Tribunal after being rolled in favour of Melissa Lee for the by-election.
  • Former National MP Ian McLean appointed to the Lakes District Health Board.
  • Another former National MP Margaret Moir appointed to the Podiatrists’ Board.
  • Yet another former National MP, Clem Simich, appointed to the Residence Review Board.
  • One of the authors of Don Brash’s Orewa speech, Michael Bassett, appointed to the Board of Te Papa.

I don’t think someone should be disqualified from appointment to a role just because they have been, or are, involved with a political party. But those appointments will always be, and should be, subject to greater scrutiny. That scrutiny should be no less just because it is a National government rather than a Labour one.

14 Responses to “Crony Watch #2”

  1. ehoa says:

    easy answer chippie….They’re in bed with the Tories, always have been — just have a look at their masthead…its blue.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    NBR probably just reprinted something sent from the National party’s office.

    You dont seriously think NBR kept tabs on minor bureaucracy do you.

    There should be a weekly update on the bauble watch for Hide, who is just keeping on keeping on. Wheres all that important legislation hes supposed to working on.?

  3. tracey says:

    It’s this kind of bias from the media which does a disservice to all those journo’s working on NBR who are not biased and not able to properly do their jobs, they get tarred by the editorial brush.

    “An editor-in-chief (also called executive editor) is a publication’s primary editor, having final responsibility for the operations and policies.[1][2] Additionally, the editor-in-chief is held accountable for delegating tasks to staff members as well as keeping up with the time it takes them to complete their task. The term is generally applied to newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, and television news programs. The term is also applied to academic journals, where the editor-in-chief ultimately decides whether a submitted manuscript will be published in the journal. This decision is made by the editor-in-chief after seeking input from reviewers selected on a basis of relevant expertise.

    Typical responsibilities of editors-in-chief include:[3]

    Cross-checking facts, spelling, grammar, writing style, design pages and photos;
    Rejecting writing that appears to be plagiarized, ghost-written by another sub-editor, or previously published elsewhere;
    Editing any content in question;
    Contributing editorial pieces;
    Motivating and developing editorial staff;
    Ensuring final draft is complete and no area is left empty;
    Handling reader complaints and taking responsibility for resulting issues; and
    For books or journals, cross-checking citations and examining references.”

  4. jennifer says:

    And the “N” in “NBR” stands for what? National, right? A wee ‘double entendre’ by the bigger Coleman boy?

  5. Nick C says:

    “One of the authors of Don Brash’s Orewa speech, Michael Bassett, appointed to the Board of Te Papa.”

    Also a former Labour Cabinet Minister who served under David Lange alongside Helen Clark and Michael Cullen amoung others.

  6. Anne says:

    Also a former Labour Cabinet Minister who served under David Lange alongside Helen Clark and Michael Cullen amoung others.

    Twenty-five plus years ago Nick C. Irrevelant!
    It’s what he is now that counts and he’s a NAct crony.
    Don’t know how old you are, but learn your history eh?

  7. Knackers says:

    Yes might be worth you studying some history, This behavour is hardly new, historically Labour is just as guilty. Crony watch is a good idea but don’t you think labour may be just as guilty. If you have any thoughts of being re elected to governement, the ability to think before you speak (or blog) would be a real assett

  8. Tanya says:

    Interesting to see Michael Bassett in the mix there.

  9. Pernacannaliculus says:

    Silly people it was not a question of labour or national guilt nearly a question of NBR double standards .We should be vigilant whoever is in power, guilt? Next we would say that politically active people should not have jobs ?

  10. Stephen Judd says:

    Chris Keall assured me via Twitter that he would draw this to the attention of the NBR editor. I’ll be interested to see whether there is any reply.

  11. Ian says:

    I don’t mean to be funny, but in various ‘polls’ NZ is viewed as a country with minimal corruption; a ten year career in the public sector has clearly illustrated to me it isn’t what you know but who you know that gets you ahead, especially within DHB’s, more so if you do not rock the boat.

    NZ is afraid of challenge and change.

  12. Jeremy Greenbrook-Held says:

    You forgot about Former Waitakere (now Helensville) MP Brian Neeson, who was appointed to the Human Rights Tribunal.

  13. Simon m says:

    the issue is really about competence-who really believes Neeson and the like add quality to the institutions they are appointed to-the list goes on and on.