Wayne Mapp’s commercial legal experience is limited to three years assisting one John Collinge, former President of the National Party who is better known for activity on the the table at the London High Commission than legal expertise.
He spent thirteen years at the University of Auckland but was unable to obtain a chair or a position in the Law School. He then became an undistinguished MP and a lacklustre Minister.
Mapp got the push from the National caucus but has been given a job at the Law Commission – a role normally reserved for distinguished lawyers.
An incredibly nasty and spiteful post by Mallard, who continues to remind people of all that is bad within Labour. He doesn’t just attack the appointment of Dr Mapp, but denigrates his entire career.
I have no issue with people having a go at appointments not made on merit, due primarily to their political links. for example the appointment of Brian Neeson to the Human Rights Review tribunal was rightly criticised by many (including me).
The most outrageous crony appointments was when Mallard’s Government appointed Labour MP Di Yates to four separate boards – to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, Trust Waikato Community Trust, education book publisher Learning Media’s board and the board of the Waikato Institute of Technology. The appointment to FSANZ was justified in the press release on the basis Yates was from Waikato which is “arguably the food bowl of New Zealand”. Yes, seriously, that was the only rationale they could come up with..
But anyway back to Dr Mapp, his appointment needs a fairer appraisal than Mallard’s nasty denigration. I’m surprised he has such venom for Mapp, because in fact Wayne was one of the least partisan MPs in Parliament. In fact he was a member of the Labour Party for many years, before he joined National. He even stood against Phil Goff for the Labour nomination for Mt Roskill in 1981 (when Wayne was in his 20s). Most Labour MPs would be far more generous towards Wayne, and probably be mortified by Mallard’s nastiness towards him. However they allow Mallard to remain their public face.
Wayne has always had a great love of policy and the law. I first met him before he was an MP, when he was Northern Region Policy Chair, and I was the Young Nats policy person. He would happily spend hours debating policy and law with me and others. He’s exactly the sort of person you do want on the Law Commission – he won’t be partisan, he has huge intellectual curiosity (which is what you need on the Law Commission) and a passion for good law and policy. I think his appointment is an excellent one – and it is useful to have someone with actual parliamentary experience on the Law Commission, in my opinion.
As for his legal background, so denigrated by Trevor Mallard who has a BCA (and an assault conviction). Wayne has an honours degree in law from Auckland University, a masters from the University of Toronto and a PhD in international law from Cambridge. He spent 12 years as an academic in commercial law, and left as an Associate Professor before he became an MP.
The suggestion he got the push from the National Caucus is also a typical Mallard lie. Wayne’s decision to retire at the last election took everyone by surprise. His primary motivation for leaving Parliament was to open doors for his wife Denese Henare, whose activities as a lawyer had to be somewhat restricted while he was an MP. Denese, incidentally, has served on the Law Commission herself and I am confident that Wayne’s contribution will match her own distinguished record.