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NRT: Judith Collins’ brazen cronyism

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, March 13th, 2012 - 19 comments
Categories: accountability, national - Tags: , ,

Reprinted from No Right Turn.


Judith Collins’ brazen cronyism

Last month, Justice Minister Judith Collins appointed former National MP Wayne Mapp to the Law Commission. It looked like a crony appointment, so I submitted the usual OIA request, seeking information on whether the appointment process had followed the SSC guidelines [PDF]. I received the response back on Saturday, and it paints a dismal picture of brazen cronyism.

First, some context [PDF]. The Law Commission needed to make an appointment because one of their members was retiring on 31 January 2012, and another was sick (this member has subsequently died). Statutorily, they’re required to have at least three members, and while it doesn’t affect their functions if they fall below this number, it looks bad. So back in September they wrote to then Justice Minister Simon Power, floating some potential appointees (none of whom had actually been asked whether they were available) and recommending a short-term appointment. While the names of the prospective appointees have been redacted for privacy reasons, its pretty clear that Wayne Mapp was not one of them. In accordance with the caretaker convention, Power deferred the decision until after the election (and his retirement).

In the interim, according to the Law Commission advice [PDF]

a nomination was received from Hon Dr Wayne Mapp. Dr Mapp’s curriculum vitae was also forwarded.

Collins appointed him for the maximum term of five years. No position description, no advertisement, no interviews, no shortlist, no process. His name was given to the Law Commission, and he was appointed. Is that simple.

So who gave Mapp’s name to the Law Commission? Why, Judith Collins did. So she imposed her candidate on the Commission, without following any proper process. I guess she’s been learning from Brownlee.

But it gets better. In her response to me [PDF], Collins justified her failure to follow SSC guidelines as follows:

The SSC guidelines to which you are referring are designed to ensure Ministers receive consistent information on candidates being recommended for appointment about whom they often have no prior information. The guidelines are just that. It is wholly up to Ministers to determine to what extent the guidelines need to be applied in any appointment process or part thereof.

In the case in point, the appointee was well known to Ministers and is respected for his abilities.

Or, in English, “the rules don’t apply to cronies”. Interestingly, despite this response, she told her Cabinet colleagues [PDF] that

I can confirm that an appropriate process has been followed in selecting the proposed appointees [sic] in terms of the State Services Commission (SSC) guidelines. Alternative options for identifying candidates were considered.

The paper trail tells a different story. The process was not followed, and there is no evidence that alternative options were considered. This was a crony appointment, pure and simple. And we should not tolerate it in our public service.

19 comments on “NRT: Judith Collins’ brazen cronyism”

  1. tc 1

    the NACT don’t give a shit, to them this is open and fair, one of theirs stitched up another seat at the trough, all is good in their world.

    Collins will show what a belligerent bully she is over this given the chance not that we need further proof.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Well, if we had a non-corrupt government both Collins and Mapp would be immediately fired. Unfortunately, we don’t.

    • rjs131 2.1

      yes a bit like all those ministers that were fired after Mike Williams was appointed to every board in NZ

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Were processes followed in those cases? Because they weren’t in this one.

  3. Please note this correction/clarification: while Collins sent in the paperwork, the Ministry of Justice regarded Mapp’s nomination as a “self-nomination”. I’m doing a bit more digging to see who asked who, and either way the response will be fascinating…

  4. ianmac 4

    And in an update NRT says evidence is that Mapp nominated himself, and himself won the nomination!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      Considering Mapp was ‘out of a job’ from the end of November with no 3 months salary to tide him over, Im sure he applied for anything available. But in this case the application was pro forma

    • mik e 4.2

      Another back room deal for a back room pen pusher.
      Mapp is full of …..

  5. Jim Nald 5

    Should we offer our congratulations to Judith Collins for her most significant discovery and contribution to NZ politics – the lady and her party who claimed to see corruption and cronyism everywhere, and now they find it within ?

  6. marsman 6

    Judith Collins is simply one of the arrogant liars in Key’s crooked Caucus.

  7. Treetop 7

    What did Collins do when it came to implementing Dame Margaret Bazley’s recommendations into police conduct?

    What did Collin’s do about the backlog of cases in the Wairarapa regarding the abuse of children not being investigated and children being left in an unsafe environment?

    What did Collins actually achieve when she was the minister of police?

    Anyone who does not follow the process of a political appointment is not to be trusted or respected.

    • Treetop 7.1

      The State Services Commission reported on 18 January 2011 re Dame Bazley’s recommendations.

      “Collins said she believed it needed a great deal of leadership from Police National Headquarters and “I have previously stated my concern that there is percieved to be a great disconnect between Police National Headquarters and frontline staff, and that is not acceptable in my opinion.”

      http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/police-culture-still-falls-short-report-4001151

      It would be interesting to know what progress has been made in the last year.

      I am delighted to find out today that the Wairarapa Times – Age reported late last month how functional the Wairarapa Child Protection Team have been.

      “In 2008 a cover – up of more than 100 open child abuse cases came to light…”

      There have been 211 referrals investigated by the team from March 2010 through to February 2012 yielding 51 arrests.

      http://www.times-age.co.nz/news/wairarapa-child-abuse-unit-sets-standard/1284961/

      Unfortunately I heard today that 250 sensitive claims are part of the ACC breach of client information and that the disclosing of information was known by ACC last December and no action had been taken to inform clients of the breach. Did ACC inform the ACC minister Collins?

      • Treetop 7.1.1

        There are now 137 sensitive claims which were breached by ACC regarding client information.

  8. Ross 8

    Remind me again how Val Sim, a lawyer whose greatest claim to fame was to deny Peter Ellis justice, became a Law Commissioner? Who appointed her and how did she thank those who appointed her?

  9. Ross 9

    It was Mark Burton who appointed Sim. One of the worst examples of cronyism seen for a long time.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/crony-watch-special-sims

    • lprent 9.1

      Tell me – what was the process taken when Sim got appointed?

      And if I understand you correctly (and assuming you are correct about Sim’s approintment)

      You’re arguing that two wrongs make a right.

      Tell me how you think that is not morally repugnant, and if you think it is, then I presume you’re going to condemn Collins are being corrupt?

      In other words I’m catching a vile whiff of hypocrisy from your comments….

      • Ross 9.1.1

        No, I don’t think two wrongs make a right, quite the opposite in fact. But I presume you opposed Sim’s appointment?

  10. I wrote this in jest some weeks ago regarding National’s small club of influence, and am beginning to realize that it wasn’t too far from the truth. Canvassing widely for advice means having a quick chat at “the club”. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/if-john-clark-was-still-in-new-zealand.html

    • Anne 10.1

      Very clever Dave Kennedy. I can just picture John Clarke and Bryan Dawe doing it exactly as it is. Gosh we could do with both of them. You don’t always appreciate talent like Clarke’s until after they’ve gone. I hope Aussie know how lucky they are – probably not.

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