I’ve spent a bit of the weekend talking and thinking about Murray McCully. Its not something I choose to do that often! But bar for the Nick Smith saga last week, I think the actions of Murray McCully would have had a great deal more attention- and I am sure they will get that attention in the coming weeks.
Last week Murray McCully wrote a letter to the Chief Executive of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade telling him that he opposed some of the changes he was proposing to the Ministry and describing various things he wanted to happen. The language was as media said “strongly worded”, and at times barbed.
This letter was then released to the media. Talking to former senior public servants no one could recall an action like this. It is a direct attack on a person who can not really respond.
Beyond that it is a farcical abdication of responsbility from McCully. He is the Minister. It is his government that gave the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade the target on finding $40 million (or $25 million as he claims) in cuts. It is not credible that the change programme in Foreign Affairs would have progressed to the point it did without McCully’s direct and continuing involvement. A Spokesperson for MFAT as good as confirmed that in the Dominion Post article linked above on Thursday.
the ministry has been “in discussions with Government throughout the process and they have provided clear direction on their priorities and expectations.
But McCully has tried to run for cover in the House and in the media, and dump all over John Allen. Now, it has to be said the way change process has been run has been disastrous. Many of the changes seem ill-thought out or just plain bizarre. Staff morale has collapsed. As I have said before I agree change was needed at MFAT, but this process has done far, far more harm than good.
John Allen and the senior leadership team at MFAT have to take their share of the blame for this. But so does Murray McCully. As the Sunday Star Times editorial (can’t find on-line) put it today his actions are a “disgrace”.