The Baubles of Office

August 14th, 2007 at 10:29 pm by David Farrar

TV3 has a story that Foreign Minister and NZ First Leader Winston Peters is going to appoint as our next High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, a NZ First MP – Brian Donnelly.

Now that’s a mighty big bauble of office.

Brian is a hell of a decent guy, is actually of Cooks descent and will I am sure be a most conscientious High Commissioner.  But that isn’t the point.  The point is that he would not be appointed unless Winston was Foreign Minister.

And the point is that Winston before the last election made an explicit commitment that he was shunning the baubles of office.  And not only if he not shunning them for himself, he is now handing them out to his mates.

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29 Responses to “The Baubles of Office”

  1. TIM BARCLAY () says:

    This will be the first of several baubles of office for long serving MPs in his party. Except Ron Mark thinks he can keep the show going. But basically they are dog tucker. Come back home to National, grey power.

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  2. Frank () says:

    The baubles of power are enjoyed by all the politicians. Free access to taxpayer’s money with no accountability of how responsibly it is spent

    and

    more baubles of a financial nature when youi retire -High Commissioner’s jobs – travel perks etcetear…

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  3. Steve Taylor - Deputy Leader, Direct Democracy Party of New Zealand () says:

    DPF: You have worked in Parliament: in your observation, do MP’s slowly distance themselves from reality, or is the process much quicker?

    [DPF: Well when it comes to Winston he has always been on his own reality. For others it normally takes a decade or so]

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  4. Neil () says:

    The only thing Winston should be appaointing is someone to drop off a cheque .
    Morally, if not Legally, he really has no right to be there.

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  5. sean () says:

    I would rather have Brian in the cook islands than Sir Jonathan Hunt Order of Merit in London.

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  6. Paul W () says:

    Actually, David, I suspect Brian Donnelly would be appointed commissioner to the Cooks by just about any government since he first entered into parliament for exactly the reasons you mention. I knew Brian when I worked in/around parliament, and he’d be one of the most decent, bright, hard-working and genuine people in the place.

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  7. David MacGregor () says:

    Forgive me for asking the obvious question but:

    In the NZ First party what crime against humanity do you have to commit to be consigned to the Cook Islands?

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  8. Cactus Kate () says:

    Shame there are no Knighthoods anymore. Winston could hand a few more of those out to his mates and financial backers.

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  9. Fox () says:

    Of course, handing out jobs to mates is something the National Party has NEVER done ………*sees Kevin Roberts nodding along unconvincingly*…….

    [DPF: Kevin Roberts has never been appointed to a government job as far as I know]

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  10. David Baigent () says:

    First real sign that Winston is imploding.
    Sure this gesture is in sign language but it is real.

    If he dos’nt hand out some baubles to his troops right now
    he won’t have any troops.

    And if he dos’t have any troops then Helen won’t last until
    Christmas.

    May-be Winston has a conscience after all.

    goodonyaCadmus..

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  11. anon () says:

    Fox, that is the sort of comment that leads to disorder on this blog. Kevin Roberts was global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, at the time of the Tourism Board issue you refer to, seen as the world’s leading advertising agency. He is also a distinguished New Zealander, a former COO of Lion New Zealand and on the NZRFU board. His agency was given the tourism account. He had dinner with the Prime Minister and they may have discussed politics, with him saying he supported her party. That was artfully turned into a scandal by Helen Clark and – as a result – S&S was stood down from the account.

    That is a very different affair from an MP being given a posting. Criticise National for John Collinge to London, but the Kevin Roberts “scandal” was always more about Shipley not declaring all the facts at the outset (like Benson-Pope) rather than the underlying so-called “issues” of the “scandal”.

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  12. dad4justice () says:

    “And if he dos’t have any troops then Helen won’t last until
    Christmas.”
    Please , please , please make it happen, as her fox hole friends are rather anxious and a large number of enemy troops are ready to pounce .
    Why worry -eh Winny ?

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  13. Inventory2 () says:

    I have no problem with Brian Donnelly being appointed as HC to the CI – with his CI heritage, he would be an excellent representative. He is the only Winston First MP who I have any time for. If ihe appointment transpires however, how will he square it off with the “I don’t know what you’re talking about” denial on 3News last night?

    It does however seem that Winston is making contingency plans for his closest allies for post-2008. Not the actions of a confident man, methinks. And did anyone else endure Doug Wollerton’s dreadful contribution to the Budget debate yesterday afternoon? I’ve heard a few bad speeches over the years, but that was right up there who would have ever thought it – Winston First as cheerleaders for a Labour government!

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  14. CharlotteM () says:

    This story seems very strange to me. Why would Brian D want to go on a posting which would at best last only a few months? Maybe he would prefer recall than defeat at the ballot box? Or is this Winston testing the water before his own move to London? All parties would probably be more than content to have him offshore for many years so a re-call for Winston would be most unlikely. Maybe Winston’s posting could be the new cornerstone of a bi-partisan foreign policy.

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  15. Policy Parrot () says:

    Brian Donnelly seems a decent enough bloke – I’ve met him a few times. In fact, just because he was appointed by a NZ-First backed Labour Government, why would it be necessary to sack him if National came to power?
    As I recall, Jim Bolger was never sacked by Labour when it came to power.

    Isn’t non-interference in the public sector the raison-d’etre of the right at the moment? You can’t have your cake and eat it at the same time…

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  16. Frank () says:

    The Baubles of Power are not of course restricted only to Members of Parliament, they extend to most in the Service of the Crown. Rewards are not necessarily confined to financial rewards but incorporate fringe benefits.

    For example, and more importantly a degree of immunity from applicable sections of the Crimes Act 1961 is noticeable.

    The sections of the Act referred to, are those that ping those in the Service of the Crown that advantage themselves to the disadvantage of others. They have immunity from Police prosecution.

    That is why no Political Parties were prosecuted over their election expenditure.

    To hand we have the police report on the part Hugh Logan played in the Madeline Sechell that resulted in the loss of her position:

    “In my view the matters you have detailed concerening Madeline Setchell do not constitute evidence of an offence”.

    Police have dismissed the case on my evidence. They havn’t sought any evicence themselves.

    The investigation by Speaker, Hon Margaret Wilson is an absolute waste of time.

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  17. Colin () says:

    DPF: What is the name of the former lady MP who went to one of the Islands as a Commissioner – I think she was Jim Andertons deputy? Where is she now? I do not mean this sarcastically – I am just wondering as she seemed to just fade away.

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  18. Ross Miller () says:

    when can we expect the announcements covering …

    Brown (remember him) to Vanuatu
    Wollerton to the Solomons
    Mark to Fiji
    Parone to Tahiti
    Stewart to Stewart Island!!
    and himself to London

    The perfect exit strategy for a Party in terminal decline.

    God Winston was AWEFUL in the House yesterday.

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  19. unaha-closp () says:

    “The point is that he would not be appointed unless Winston was Foreign Minister.”

    Untrue.

    NZFirst support is critical to the survival of this Labour government. That support is in question, because Labours polling is crap. This means NZFirst needs to be given something to keep them interested. When this happened with the Greens we got the horrible anti-smacking bill. We should be thankful it is a good appointment of a good man to a job he will do well and not a return of military service, ban on Asian immigrants or a 10% hike in super.

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  20. Insolent Prick () says:

    Nonsense, Parrot.

    A political appointment is a political appointment. How you can possibly equate removing Donnelly, a political appointment to Raro, as interference in the independence of the public service, is an astonishing act of ignorance on your part.

    Traditionally all political appointments to overseas posts tender their resignations when a new government comes to power. Bolger was retained by the Clark government because of the particular qualities he had as a former Prime Minister in a prime overseas posting. The Cook Islands is not an important posting at all. Donnelly is not a distinguished New Zealander. this is an appalling piece of cronyism.

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  21. cubit9f () says:

    Colin – It was Sandra Lee – one of Jim Andertons foot soldiers

    Ross Miller – Winston was worse than AWEFUL. I think he and the speaker have got something going. She is very kind and forgiving of his antics. The points of order that become speeches on subjects absolutely unrelated to the topic in question beggar belief. He is currently very quick to come to aid of Helen clark. In fact much quicker than many of her own people.

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  22. Paul W () says:

    IP, your tenuous grip on reality is showing. Donnelly compares very well to any other candidate and the practice of appointing MPs to commission-jobs is not so unusual (though can be controversial even if this one is not).

    What I find amusing about your posts is that you claim such insight and authority and yet clearly have bugger-all.

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  23. roger nome () says:

    “TV3 has a story that Foreign Minister and NZ First Leader Winston Peters is going to appoint as our next High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, a NZ First MP – Brian Donnelly. Now that’s a mighty big bauble of office.”

    Not really – as I understand it the juniors at MFAT often begin their careers working on some small pacific island (after a couple of years in Wellington). So it’s actually quite an underwhelming bauble. Jim Bolger on the other hand was given the top foreign relations job in the USA by his brethren (excuse the pun) – now that’s what I call a bauble!

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  24. David Farrar (1,856 comments) says:

    Bolger was widely acclaimed as a very sucessful Ambassador, and kept on by Labour. A former PM has significant status and networks which he can use to NZ’s advantage.

    ANyway the issue isn’t political appointees per se. The issue is Winston campaigned specifically on the basis he shuns them. He lied.

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  25. Nicholas O'Kane () says:

    It’s not unusual for retiring government MPs to get given diplomatic posts. There is no logical reason why NZ First should be denied what labour and National have done for a long time.

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  26. cubit9f () says:

    Is Winston still deluding himself that he is the Foriegn Minister. He might have the baubles and get to do the travel and put the snout in the trough but lets be clear, any weighty Foriegn Relations issue is dealt with by HC or Goff as Trade and Defence Minister.

    Winston is just a little show pony. (In reality thats all he really wants to be)

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  27. Fox () says:

    First of all, let me say that it makes no difference whether Kevin Roberts was appointed to a government job or not. It’s the PRINCIPLE of the matter that counts, which in this instance entailed a ‘mate’ of the Nats being awarded a very lucrative contract. The fact that that DPF is trying to muddy this very clearcut underlying principle by referring to the specifics of each case is all-telling in itself.
    Secondly, Anon; you go on to list many a reason why in your view Kevin Roberts was justifyably awarded the account. And for all I know you could be right. But the same argument could also be applied to Brian Donnely. If you look at the guy’s credentials, it would seem he is very much qualified to be a High Commissioner, and would likely make a good one at that. Yet that didn’t prevent DPF’s cheap ‘ baubles of office’ attack either, did it? So how are Helen’s accusations against Kevin Roberts , and DPF’s attacks on Brian Donnelly any different? At the core of it – they simply aren’t.
    Thirdly, Anon conveniently offered another example of the Nats handing jobs to their mates, this time in the form of John Collinge. I wonder what DPF’s response to this one will be? – “Oh John’s shoe size is 12 and Brian’s is 10…. therefore these two cases are completely different…”
    And finally, if pointing out DPF’s glaring hypocrisy on this matter happens to lead to disorder on this blog, then so be it…..

    [DPF: Roberts had no involvement with National at all (as far as I know) before Saatchis won the Tourism Board contract. Saatchis are the world's most famous ad agency so it is little surprise they win contracts. Saatchis also have a strict policy of never doing work for political parties so they were not conflicted.

    I have not attacked Brian Donnelly. In fact I have praised him. I have attacked Winston for promising one thing and breaking his word]

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  28. Rex Widerstrom () says:

    Wrong motives (maybe), right choice. Brian Donnelly would run rings round most MPs in terms of integrity and many in terms of intelligence. In fact the downside to any diplomatic appointment would be his loss to Parliament.

    Perhaps I can give Winston the benefit of the doubt in this case because I know he’s always genuinely held Donnelly in the highest regard. But if he so much as makes dogcatcher out of any of the bumbling incompetents that sit alongside him, DPF’s crtiique will be spot on.

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  29. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    I see the point made here,,

    But Winston is foreign minister, he can appoint ministers to overseas posts,

    I don’t think that’s strictly baubles of office.

    I mean, the man will actually be representing his own country,,

    I think that’s the point Winston is making.

    That’s how the Raro’s will see it any how.

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