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More jobs for the old “boys”

Written By: - Date published: 1:01 pm, December 19th, 2009 - 17 comments
Categories: human rights, national/act government - Tags:

Back at the start of the month Marty G pointed out that Brash’s useless 2025 Taskforce looked like nothing so much as a pension scheme for retired Tory old boys. Marty wrote:

No more jobs for Nats’ old mates

So far, we’ve paid $400,000 to employ some rightwing old boys for a crap report that the government has binned as part of its political gamesmanship. It makes a lie of the government’s commitment to eliminate government waste.

We shouldn’t spend any more money on this rubbish when we could be using it to heat homes, hire teachers, or reduce borrowing.

Well, surprise!, National are still at it. No Right Turn has an excellent discussion of the Nats recent appointments to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. Of the 9 new appointments four are both wholly inappropriate and, coincidentally, old “boys”:

  • Wendy Gilchrist – real estate agent and failed Christchurch local body candidate (Independent Citizens – which is the local National Party);
  • Pastor Ravi Musuku – failed National Party candidate (Mt Albert, 2008), a fundamentalist Christian bigot who thinks that “having no kids makes you inferior”.
  • Brian Neeson – former National MP, archconservative who blames everything bad on prostitution and abortion and who virulently opposed the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act. More recently, he opposed the Human Rights Amendment Act 2001, which restructured the HRC and HRRT as well as removing various discriminatory provisions from new Zealand law, as an “Orwellian” bill about “social control” by “Big Sister”.
  • Ken Shirley – former ACT MP.

It is not by any means unusual for ex politicians to be appointed to positions for which they have experience and an appropriate background. But that certainly does not seem to be the case for these four appointments. This is a significant tribunal, with the power to hold Parliament to account to the terms of the Bill of Rights Act. This important body deserved better than to be saddled with a quartet of inappropriate Tory deadwood.

17 comments on “More jobs for the old “boys” ”

  1. Peter Martin 1

    The NBR, during the last Government(s), had a weekly column called ( if I remember correctly) Crony Watch, where it listed what was purported to be the Labour Party’s jobs for ‘old boys’.

    I wonder if they still run it…and just how lengthy the list is with this Government.

  2. burt 2

    I laughed at this bit;

    No Right Turn has an excellent discussion

    Perhaps you could show me the discussion that you speak of ?

    Quiet news day again eh?

  3. SHG 3

    Ooh yeah, I has lots of interesting discussions over at NRT.

  4. PBDT 4


    I googled some of the other names. Is Gavin Cook the same Gavin Cook who “is definitely the National Party kaumātua of Birkenhead”?

  5. gitmo 5

    “It is not by any means unusual for ex politicians to be appointed to positions for which they have experience and an appropriate background.”

    Surely this should read “It is not by any means unusual for ex politicians to be appointed to positions.”

    Governments over many decades having been appointing cronies, sychophants and cockkholes to all kinds of taxpayer funded QANGOS, NGOS, SOES etc etc where they proceed to achieve five tenths of fuck all.

    • Ron 5.1

      But don’t you have to actually have gotten elected to something to be considered and “ex-politician”?

  6. Peter Martin 6

    An interactive discussion is but one definition of the word.

    I didn’t even smile at the attempt of the thread hijack.

  7. The issue here isn’t so much the cronyism (though I object to that as well), but the outright bigotry displayed by at least two of the appointees.

    This is a body which will be sitting on cases about sexist and homophobic discrimination. And it is entirely inappropriate for sexists and homophobes to be appointed to it.

    • Herodotus 7.1

      Why is ot ok for Lab to promote their buddies but not national?
      What gets me here is how forgetful some contributors are. Some of those Lab list MPs from 2005 and “retired” to govt positions/boards. Can anyone here forget how great an effort to get Mr Sutton to go?
      When LAb get back in does anyone really think that there will be a change and “our” side will do what has gone before?
      Politics is unfortunately just a game and this is one of the benefits of winning.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        I don’t think that the point of the post was about political appointments. It was more about appointing people who were competent for their roles.

        • Herodotus

          There are very few that both sides would agree on. So then it becomes political. We have had the situation whereby Lab appointed Jimbo Bolger to a few boards, was he really the best person for those appointments ? I think not.
          Also as we have 4m resident and another 0.5m expats there is a limited base for selection. At least the US system (Not perfect) but you know what you get. A Sup Court Judge dies, and depending who is in power gets to appoint “their” person. We here seem to hold on to the old private school image of fair play. This was always a great sentiment but hardly ever followed.

          • lprent

            From what I’ve heard, Bolger did a good job. He was actually a pretty competent politician and manager. Not great. But pretty damn steady. Thats why Labour put him on those boards. The same happened with a number of other people in different positions. They tended to select to the left, but would take people from the right is they found one available.

            Key, Ryall, etc just seem to pick the most incompetent for the roles and put them in. Christine Rankin comes to mind.

            • Pascal's bookie

              “Christine Rankin comes to mind.”

              Sure does. I reckon it’s just pandering to the SocCons. There isn’t going to be any legislation unwinding civil unions, abortion isn’t going to restricted, s59 ain’t coming back; so National throws them these bones.

              • Herodotus

                I have no issue with Christine on the families commission, should with 9 commissioners (I think) have a broard range of opinions, families are not monotypic, and to me having a committee made up from one perspective already displays of the agenda or how a group/faction has taken over.
                Someone else who should be for me brought into the frame, Celia Ashley, but I could not see this happening under Lab.
                Finally did not John K state that he was for the right person for the job instead of political alignments. I think this was discussing what potential Helen C had under his leadership. And I think if Helen had the right skill factors she and others would not be limited. I also think Michael C was also included. you see John K is a man of his word, also Bill E as we will not break election promises. What more could you ask for, politicians keepingtheir word?

      • Idiot/Savant 7.1.2

        Why is ot ok for Lab to promote their buddies but not national?

        I don’t think its OK.

  8. Rex Widerstrom 8

    Let’s not forget that conservative views have as much right to be heard as liberal ones (and I consider myself extremely liberal on social issues, though others may disagree).

    But it would be hoped that any conservative thought would be advanced in a rational, intelligent and reasonable manner. Thus I’m quite relaxed about — even pleased to see — someone of the calibre of Ken Shirley appointed.

    And I’m still trying to pick my jaw up off the ground after reading the name “Pastor Ravi Musuku”.

    As for “cronyism”, well governments tend to try to shape society in their own image (cf the President’s joy when a Justice of the Supreme Court falls off his or her perch). That’s only to be expected… but again it’s generally held that while Antonin Scalia might just make it over the bar, Jesse Helms wouldn’t have been the best choice.

    The choice of Neeson is even more confusing. He stood against Key which is pretty much the closest you can come to committing treason in NZ (given that the parties put themselves ahead of the nation and all) so perhaps it’s all a cunning plot of some sort… or they drew the names out of a hat… or a public servant had too much to drink at the Christmas party, got Ministerial sign-off on a set of blank nomination forms, and thought “Stuff the lot of yous…”?

  9. Janice 9

    I didn’t know that Neeson stood against Key. However if Neeson was being dropped I think by standing in an electorate and losing he gets another 3 months parliamentary salary. Just another dip in the trough please?

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