Another day, another example of some unseemly looking stuff from the Nats. This time it’s Judith Collins choosing Robert Kee – a friend of her husband – for a $200,000 a year taxpayer funded job.
According to Fisher’s article in the Herald:
Mrs Collins appointed Mr Kee mid-2012 after personally nominating him for the post. She then chose Mr Kee for the job out of two final candidates against the advice of officials
When the Weekend Herald asked her office again about her husband’s friendship with Mr Kee, a spokeswoman refused to answer. She said: “I don’t think that’s relevant.”
She said no conflict of interest declaration was filed by the minister because it was believed there was no conflict.
Now I’m no big city laywer (although considering how well they’re paid perhaps I made a mistake not becoming one!), but it seems to me that there should have been some kind of flag raised around this and, at the very least, Collins should have removed herself from the decision. I may be naive but I also find it surprising that there’s a process whereby a Minister can both nominate someone for a position and then be the one that makes the decision on the appointment.
One would have thought that Collins might have had a bit more nous than this – especially as she saw firsthand the trouble Nick Smith got himself over his conflict of interest in ACC.
I also can’t help but wonder if the release of this story isn’t somehow connected to the Collins/Joyce cold war that has been raging for the last two years.