Demonising Rankin

May 12th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

is a polarising figure, and her appointment to the always going to be a bit controversial. Personally I still think the Commission should be abolished, but Rankin may do some good there. But what the hell is Colin Espiner on by writing the following:

Rankin has been divorced three times.

She recently married her fourth husband, whose former wife was found dead in her Wellington home six months ago.

Police said the circumstances of the death were not suspicious.

Bad enough to focus on her marriages, as if never being divorced is a pre-requisite. But what the hell does the death of the former wife of her husband have to do with it, except to almost imply she was responsible for the death.

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67 Responses to “Demonising Rankin”

  1. lofty (1,310 comments) says:

    Shocking reporting, at least she has a plethora of life skills to bring to the job.
    Bugger all will phase her.

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  2. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    It’s a red ear ring.

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  3. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    I think its more attempting to point out the man was married to someone else only 6 months ago (it’s the ‘Families’ Commission!).

    -Rankin on the Families Commission? – well it’s said a plumbers house always seems to have leaky pipes
    – agree with you the commission should be abolished

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  4. Ryan Sproull (7,101 comments) says:

    There has never been any conclusive evidence linking Rankin with the assassination of JFK.

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  5. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    Seems like a fair call to me. We’d want to know if the head of the LTSA crashed his car four times.

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  6. slightlyrighty (2,472 comments) says:

    One of my colleagues has more knowledge of what has occurred vis-a-vis the death that occurred 6 months ago. He has told me that the death was suicide which was in part brought about by the discovery of the affair.

    He told me at the time who the identity of the other woman was, and I have no cause to doubt the veracity of his statements. Now I have no doubt about Rankin’s ability to perform in the role, but I do have some reservations as to her ability to know where the line is, and to her judgement in deciding to cross the line or not.

    I do not need the Children’s Commissioner to be a saint, but her judgement in this matter in marrying her partner after an affair that contributed to the suicide of his former partner 6 months ago is troubling, and her appointment by the government could be seen as a big mistake.

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  7. larryq (66 comments) says:

    Christine Rankin is damaged goods and gets into strife too often because, as you say, she’s polarising. Personally, I found her attititude to both the section 59 issue and the trans tasman quack remedies bizzo, off beam. But in any case, she’s way too keen on being in the lime light. We must surely be able to do better than this nut case.

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  8. Brian Smaller (4,015 comments) says:

    I think she will do a good job. Compared to her predecessor, she couldn’t do anything else.

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  9. theodoresteel (91 comments) says:

    I’d say it is very relevant, usually I wouldn’t but in circumstances surrounding this death I think it is important.

    Not at all a family friendly situation – No matter what your definition of family.

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  10. Brian Smaller (4,015 comments) says:

    One of my colleagues has more knowledge of what has occurred vis-a-vis the death that occurred 6 months ago. He has told me that the death was suicide which was in part brought about by the discovery of the affair.

    There may be many valid reasons for topping yourself but finding out your partner was cheating on you is a pretty poor one. That woman’s lack of wanting to live has nothing to do with Christine Rankin and everything to do with her own parlous mental state.

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  11. theodoresteel (91 comments) says:

    I think, Brian, if you were aware of the other circumstances that Rankin’s actions were the final straw at what she was aware was a very stressful time for the entire family. My biggest concern would not be the wife’s death but the effect the entire situation had on the children, and whether Rankin considered them.

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  12. slightlyrighty (2,472 comments) says:

    Brian. You are probably correct, but this is politics, and this situation reeks. The death in question was high profile and widely reported in Wellington, being published in the newspapers and reported on radio.

    Rankin is polarising, this is a polarising position, and there is dirt about be thrown in question-time, at about question 3 this afternoon. Her appointment is a mistake, not because of her ability but her history. We all know that in politics, dirt gets thrown, and it is a mistake to appoint a target who has supplied such ammunition to her detractors.

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  13. burt (8,241 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller

    Indeed. But how about a woman in her early 40’s finding out that her husband is cheating on her with a woman in her 60’s…

    Now that’s gotta smart a little but topping herself was a bit self indulgent.

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  14. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    I knew the deceased, and I know man who left her for Rankin. That Espiner would, in this context, drag this horrible event out and embelish it with innuendo is nothing short of gutter journalism IMO.

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  15. Monty (976 comments) says:

    Does she have the management skills to do a good job for the families commission? I think she does and I wish her every success.

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  16. petal (706 comments) says:

    I think Colin forgot to add she lives next to people who don’t tie of their rubbish bags too well and the cats get into them and make a mess on collection day.

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  17. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Hmmm, family commission, one would believe that good moral values would be to the fore, but that went out the window when Brash made a few statements about morals etc while being otherwise engaged.

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  18. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    Has anybody commenting here actually read some of the stuff that comes out of the FC?

    If so, one could have but one opinion: get rid of the whole thing, it’s much too expensive for what it produces.

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  19. burt (8,241 comments) says:

    dimmocrazy

    That might be the plan – break up the families commission.

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  20. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Espiner’s piece is pathetic. I don’t have much regard for Rankin but this is a hatchet job.

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  21. burt (8,241 comments) says:

    theodoresteel

    The children… which children would that be? The neighbours perhaps ?

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  22. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Head of the Families Commission? Why would they allow someone so rank in?

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  23. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I think she will do a good job. Compared to her predecessor, she couldn’t do anything else.

    For that matter, what CAN she do? I know Kiro comes out with quotes in the media every now and then, but what has the FC actually done for NZ since it was created? At the very least I would’ve thought whatever they do could’ve been done within MSD…

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  24. Trevor Mallard (247 comments) says:

    For the first time I agree with Burt – this is a plan to finish the families commission by putting in probably the worst performing dpeartmental CEO since the state sector act came into force.

    [DPF: If she was incompetent, why did you not sack her for cause then, rather than wait for her contract to finish]

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  25. Ross Miller (1,700 comments) says:

    I agree the Families Commission ought to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    The ‘muck raking’ on Rankin though … well I guess it takes 2 to tango but I am consoled that

    Henry had many wives
    Jack K had one wife and many mistresses
    So did Edward the 7th
    Michael C had more than one wife and Anne Collins had more than one husband
    The Princess Royal is on her 2nd husband
    David Lange ditto re wives

    and the list goes on and on and on. So what?

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  26. PaulL (5,971 comments) says:

    Trevor, that is a bit harsh is it not. I remember an incoming Labour govt being very clear that they wanted her fired, and then engineering that pretty early on. Merger of two departments to make her job surplus to requirements wasn’t it? You have to feel a bit sorry for National for not being that smart – they actually tried to terminate Barry Matthews rather than fudging it.

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  27. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Incidentally David, although I think Espiner’s piece is rubbish, the article you link to is much better since it quotes from Dunne, the architect of the Commission, who thinks her appointment is a bad move, and cites her less than successful tenure in the public sector – including her profligate waste of taxpayer resources on a junket… I thought that sort of stuff worried you?

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  28. Brian Smaller (4,015 comments) says:

    Ross – including the esteemed poster immediately proceeding you.

    I would like to see the Families Commision go. If it takes Rankin and Bruce Pilbrow to get rid of it then good stuff.

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  29. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Nasty woman, makes my skin crawl. She’ll be frothing over the ‘spanking’ referendum.

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  30. big bruv (13,734 comments) says:

    “probably the worst performing dpeartmental (sic) CEO since the state sector act came into force.”

    Another blatant lie from Mallard.

    There are numerous reasons why Rankin should be back but I can think of none better than it will get right up the nose of bullies like Trevor Mallard.

    If you want to talk about “worst performing” CEO’s Trev then lets look at that fat, useless tub of lard Kiro, or that totally useless bitch Klark put into neuter our Police force.

    [DPF: 20 demerits for the descriptions of Kiro. I don't like her much either but we can do without such descriptions]

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  31. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Big Bruv’s holding a torch for Rankin. Like two asps mating.

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  32. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    JOHN KEY KILLS PUPPIES!

    Look I can be a “serious” journalist too.

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  33. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    One would expect the person appointed to head any Department or Commission to have an exemplar background in terms of the position.

    One wouldnt consider a previously convicted felon to be suitable for appointment as HOD at Corrections for instance.

    Similarly one who expect that the person to head the Families Commission to have a if not spotless then at least a pretty damn good track record in the family area.

    One fails to see 3 divorces as evidence of such

    I mean one could be excused as unfortunate two might be considered very bad luck but THREE suggests a serial offender in this regard.

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  34. Brian Smaller (4,015 comments) says:

    That she wasted taxpayer’s money on that WINZ junket is a black mark against Rankin. It pails into insignificance compared to what the Families Commision cost NZ. It cost us 9 years of Clark government – it was the cheap as chips bribe that brought Peter Dunne.

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  35. Kimble (4,434 comments) says:

    “including her profligate waste of taxpayer resources on a junket”

    Fortunately we recently had a Labour government that set VERY low standards. So the “waste” of Rankins time can be viewed as more of a small budgetery slip rather than a terminable offense.

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  36. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Similarly one who expect that the person to head the Families Commission to have a if not spotless then at least a pretty damn good track record in the family area.

    One fails to see 3 divorces as evidence of such

    That’s actually what pissed me off about Espiner’s piece. No one sets out with the intention that a marriage ends, but it happens and there’s wrong to suggest a family fails/ends simply ’cause a marriage does. We’ve got far more complex lives and families than the notional nuclear family of the ’50s and I’d be worried if the Families Commission was reconfigured as some sort of advocate for it’s restoration.

    Rankin’s a poor appointment for many other reasons, not simply because she’s been married a few times.

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  37. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    When did it become an “offence” to get married gd? Did I miss another green party proclamation or what?

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  38. Brian Smaller (4,015 comments) says:

    I mean one could be excused as unfortunate two might be considered very bad luck but THREE suggests a serial offender in this regard.

    Yes – she may have married three men who, as it turns out, were unsuitable. This is 2009. People are allowed to change their minds now about who they spend their lives’ with – right Trev? Families come in all shapes and sizes etc etc – you know all the guff that leftists have been spewing about what a family is for the last decade or more.

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  39. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    That she wasted taxpayer’s money on that WINZ junket is a black mark against Rankin. It pails into insignificance compared to what the Families Commision cost NZ. It cost us 9 years of Clark government – it was the cheap as chips bribe that brought Peter Dunne.

    That’s odd Brian. One was an instance of serious misjudgment of the ethics of being a public servant the other was a United Future initiative they campaigned on. You mightn’t agree with the Commission, but it’s establishment was democratic. Rankin hired a luxury lodge and jet planes with your taxpayer dollars. See the difference?

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  40. Brian Smaller (4,015 comments) says:

    As soon as the good burghers of Ohariu get rid of Dunne, then the Families Commission will be gone. Next election hopefully. I am hoping that Rankin and Pilbrow’s appointments are short term.

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  41. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Brian, are you happy to ignore competence only when it’s absence serves your personal goals?

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  42. Shunda barunda (2,982 comments) says:

    Please forgive my ignorance, but is Rankin replacing Kiro?, cause I thought the families commission and the childrens commissioner were two different things.

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  43. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    You’re right Shunda (whoops). Different.

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  44. Shunda barunda (2,982 comments) says:

    Uncle Trev has obviously got plenty of spare time, he was only at 14 posts a few days ago and now he’s at over 70!.
    Have you had a guts full of Phil, Trev?
    Although I guess it is open season on Mallards at the moment, needs somewhere to hide. :)

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  45. big bruv (13,734 comments) says:

    Another reason to applaud the appointment of Rankin is that Peter Dunne is dead against her taking the job, Dunne has called for her to refuse the appointment…..ha ha.

    The man who thinks of nothing other than keeping his head in the trough wants somebody else to turn down a tax payer funded job, I am sure there is a Tui billboard in that somewhere.

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  46. dave (988 comments) says:

    She recently married her fourth husband, whose former wife was found dead in her Wellington home six months ago.
    Police said the circumstances of the death were not suspicious.

    Looks like they`ve edited the offending comments out now and rewritten the first phrase.

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  47. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    larryq says:

    …she’s way too keen on being in the lime light. We must surely be able to do better than this nut case.

    Seconded. What is it about New Zealand that we must keep dredging up at best lacklustre performers and at worst total failures and recycling them for no other reason than they have name recognition?!

    We are very fortunate, I think, that Peter Andre and “Jordan” aren’t NZers or they’d be on this white elephant quicker than you can say “boob job” (as opposed to “job for a boob”, as is the case with rankin :-D )

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  48. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Sorry folks you missed my point I didnt explain myself.

    Good govenrnace is all about good judgement. The head of any Commission or Department must be able to make good judgements if they are to be successful

    Long and stable marriages are in part all about good judgement in selecting the right partner.

    Now As I said if one makes THREE bad selections one has really got to ask the question is this the right person to be advocating on family matters.

    IMHO NO. Its all about credibility. And THREE divorces does not a credible candidate for this post.

    No offence against Christine My wife worked with her in the then Social Welfare in the 1970s and she was a good person and well respected

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  49. Scott (1,780 comments) says:

    I like the appointment. If Sue Bradford and Phil Goff are against it, then I am generally for it!

    She is a social conservative, which I like. We can expect the family’s commission to start really helping New Zealand families. Rather than the previous regime which was really a mouthpiece for the Marxist/feminist social policies of the left.

    I just think we need to get a clue. I honestly believe that the principles, let’s face it most of them Christian, that guided us in the past are the correct ones to guide us in the future. I honestly believe this remaking of the family to be whatever you want it to be, is completely wrong. The best family is mum and dad, married, looking after their children. Research says that, the word of God says that, our experience says that — I honestly believe we have to face reality.

    I for one, am tired of radical left-wing, gay rights, feminist, elite ultraliberal people running this country. We need to get back to what works. It’s not returning to the 50s, but it is giving due weight to the principles of the past that will serve us well in the future. We need to re-establish family and marriage back into the centre of New Zealand society.

    I for one applaud this appointment and hope that more right-thinking people get the chance to be appointed to these key positions. And yes I appreciate that she is a flawed human being, but God knows aren’t we all?

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  50. backster (2,152 comments) says:

    As I recall it Social Welfare was run very efficiently by RANKIN partly because she was resolute in exposing waste within the department and immense fraud by welfare recipients, matters which the Liabour Government quickly put on the backburner. The most blatant examples of Government wastage was by the WANANGA for which one MALLARD had oversight. Likewise the same MALLARD was prepared to gift over a billion taxpayer dollars to Auckland to build a sports stadium. It ill behoves him to complain about proflicacy…..As for Party patronage the best examples of that are surely the inverted racist DeBRESS and the former Trade Unionist NOONAN…..Of course all these Commissions are a waste of money and should be dispensed with. DUNNE is of no value to the National Government and should do a ‘Spector’ and revert to Liabour.

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  51. KiwiGreg (3,250 comments) says:

    “We can expect the family’s commission to start really helping New Zealand families. ”

    Because god knows what they were doing before there was a commission to tell them how to do it.

    The correct government response would be to toss Dunne out (he will be gone in the next election so no need to even pretend Nats are building a sustainable coalition with him) and get rid of them all – Childrens, Families, Human Rights, Maori Language and all the other Commissions soaking up good money.

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  52. lyndon (325 comments) says:

    The relevant passage has apparently been removed.

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  53. lyndon (325 comments) says:

    Probably at 12:52. And the byline changed?

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  54. NoCash (257 comments) says:

    Can Stuff.co.nz get rid of that pic of Rankin on the front page please… it’s an eye sore…

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  55. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    The odd thing is that John Sax originally hired Rankin in 2005 to run a campaign demanding social policy changes to stop families from breaking up. At the time, he said “We claim we have the right as adults to pursue any relationships we like – but at the cost of our children, do we?”

    I can only presume that this was some sort of social moral conservative humour to which I am not privy.

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  56. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    So Rankin has gone through three husbands, big deal. Does a doctor have to get three diseases before they can practice medicine?.

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  57. Kimble (4,434 comments) says:

    Why are politicians appointing this woman to run our families?

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  58. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    That’s a tricky one. If her qualifications for the Trust required her to have/maintain a particular marital status, then she’s not qualified for that Trust but personally, I don’t think being a divorcee should disqualify you from anything. Being a poor parent’s possible whether you’re married or divorced. I still think Rankin’s unsuitability is function of her previously poor public performance, not her personal circumstances.

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  59. Tauhei Notts (1,693 comments) says:

    I watched this woman on the Sainsbury show. I listened carefully to what she had to say. Then I thought that her’s was an inspirational appointment. And I’m sure that Key knows that she will take “no shit’, even if it means maligning her employer, if, in her mind, her employer needs maligning.
    I get the impression that her comments in the future will marginalise the Goff crowd. I’ll love that.
    But spare a thought for the tangata whenua. No longer, under Rankin’s reign, will it be defensible to abuse the taonga, the tamariki. Expect some vigorous criticism in this field. And about bloody time.

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  60. Razork (375 comments) says:

    She was fantastic on Close up!
    Go Christine!!!!!

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  61. Evan (11 comments) says:

    I have found her to be a shallow thinker in what I have seen of her in the past.

    This is just another mistake by our weak new government as far as I am concerned.

    Crusher Collins and Chopper Tolley have already been disappointing. Add the name of Paula Bennett.

    How difficult would it have been to find a more appropriate candidate?

    Is attention seeking now a qualification?

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  62. Richard Aston (5 comments) says:

    I think its interesting the reaction we are all having to Rankin’s appointment, some seem to assume she is taking over the Families Commission but she will be one of 7 commissioners with Jan Pryor as Chief Commissioner. Does she have such super human powers that her mere appointment as a commissioner means the end of the Families Commission as we know it?
    Given her tough individualistic style it may be she has been thrown in to stir it up. She has already stated, in a interview with Mary Wilson on Radio NZ yesterday, that she doesn’t at all like the commission’s policy of consensus decision making and will be bringing “robust debate” into the mix. I think robust debate can be great but it can also be a code word for mindless shit stirring. I think the Families Commission deserves some of the criticism leveled at it but I think it could hold great potential in effecting social change at a grassroots level – killing it as some suggest seems premature and well, kinda mindless really.
    Will Rankin be able to creatively contribute something of value?

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  63. Nigel7 (13 comments) says:

    Yes she will Richard. She is a passionate, determined, and hard working lady who has done well in life. Her views naturally disturb those who want us kept uninformed, dumbed down and ruled over by the socialist elite. So they attack her personally.

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  64. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,068 comments) says:

    The thing is, during her tenure at ‘Winz’, Rankin didn’t show any of this flair for ‘robust debate’ or ‘gutsy decision making’ she’s supposedly reknowned for. She distinguished herself by pissing away vast amounts of taxpayer money on frivolities (branding, promotional videos, private jets etc) while her department hit the headlines every week for its incompetence and mismanagement. She was a DISASTER who singlehandedly damaged the National Party in the opinion polls and helped bring about their defeat.

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  65. Richard Aston (5 comments) says:

    Well that’s two entirely different views. It fact they are so far apart you could insert a small third world country between them.
    Nigel – who are the socialist elite ? So far it seem people are worried about who Rankin is rather than what she is saying , a matter of style rather than content – I have not seen all the media on her but has she made any statements about what she plans to do or which direction she’d like to see the Families Commission head?

    Danyl – yes I remember the debacle with WINZ it was a disaster and of course not long after that WINZ was consolidated into MSD . Not sure she singlehandedly bought about the defeat of the National Party I think thats stretching it a bit

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  66. jackp (668 comments) says:

    Ian Wishart did some investigative reporting and he wrote in his book , Absolute Power, Christine Rankin was a light weight in government compared to the labour party. I am always amused that people can question her ability to make decisions for families when we had Helen Clark making decisions for families. Did she ever have a husband? I don’t think so. These people complaining about Christine Rankin are living in glass houses and they should stop throwing their rocks.

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  67. tweetybird (1 comment) says:

    “But what the hell does the death of the former wife of her husband have to do with it, except to almost imply she was responsible for the death”
    Well pardon my ignorance but was that what Colin Espiner, in the quotes in the original post was implying?

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