How dare National not reappoint Labour appointees

May 16th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

Government cronyism is being blamed for delays in Employment Relations Authority investigations, caused by a 76 per cent turn over of its members in two years. …

The contracts of seven members had expired since 2010 and a further six would expire between June and the end of the year. They are appointed by the Governor-General, on the recommendation of Minister .

Labour’s industrial relations spokeswoman Darien Fenton said some members had wanted to stay on but their contracts were not renewed.

“The minister is clearly wanting to put her own people in there, what we would describe as cronies.”

How dare Kate Wilkinson appoint different people to whom Labour appointed. Just because they won two elections is no reason they should appoint different people to whom Labour did.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said the organisation was consulted on appointments and had a policy of approving the reappointment of competent members, regardless of whether it agreed with their decisions.

I’m a bit cynical that the doesn’t ever link their agreement with decisions with whether they think someone is competent. Are they really saying they regard someone as competent if they disagree with all their decisions?

As far as I can tell the vast majority of members under Labour were former union lawyers. Now as far as I can tell, there are a few ex-union lawyers on there, a couple of ex-employers assn lawyers and the majority have just worked privately (for both employers and employees). That seems pretty balanced to me.

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9 Responses to “How dare National not reappoint Labour appointees”

  1. tvb (4,554 comments) says:

    You not be so defensive. Many many good Nats failed to get appointments under Labour. The Government has every right to make political appointments and should do so if they want policy changes.

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  2. flipper (4,330 comments) says:

    Ok…
    Now that is on the way, let us start on the State Services Commission and then go thru the Ministries.
    It is fiction that the state bureaucrats are neutral.
    I once (when acting as a consulting contractor) had a Departmental head tell me:”that may be what the Government wants as policy, but our policy is different and it will prevail”.
    It didn’t, thanks to a strong Minister.

    Time for a big change.

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  3. alwyn (439 comments) says:

    I am sure that you are misinterpreting Darrien Fenton’s noble motives.
    She realises that the country is in some financial strife and she is merely trying to save the taxpayer some money.
    The new people being appointed came from other jobs, in which they were earning salaries, and were not therefore a burden on the taxpayer.
    The Labour party appointees, in Darrien’s judgement, are incapable of obtaining any other employment and will therefore end up on the unemployment benefit which means a net cost increase to the Public purse.
    Obviously she doesn’t want to increase the cost of Government operations and is patriotically pointing out a way to help with this.
    Well, perhaps not but I can always believe that pigs can fly if I want to.

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  4. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    flipper: It wasn’t the Justice Ministry by any chance? But regardless off which it was, as has been observed many times, “Yes Minister” was a documentary not a comedy….Anyone who has not tried has no real idea how difficult it is to fight the bureaucrats…they can and will do ANYTHING to try and stop policy changes they don’t agree with….

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  5. flipper (4,330 comments) says:

    DG..
    No not justice.
    But agree with what you say about “Yes, Minister”:. Good stuff!

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  6. david (2,194 comments) says:

    Surely not DG, … surely a disgruntled passenger in MFAT wouldn’t leak Cabinet papers to Phil Goff would he? Surely a disgruntled Biosecurity ex-employee wouldn’t plant felix the fruitfly in an MPI trap and disrupt the lives of hundreds or thousands of citizens? surely, surely, sure ………

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  7. Nookin (3,562 comments) says:

    An Authority Member is appointed for a maximum of 4 years. The member is eligible for reappointment. Appointment is made by the Gov Gen on the recommendation of the minister. It is open to the Chief of the Authority to prepare a report on any individual member and the Minister must take that report into account when deciding whether to renew the appointment.

    The report must relate to the member’s compliance with the Chief of Authority’s instructions setting out expectations in respect of the process, timeliness, or any other matter relating to the hearing and determination of matters before the Authority.

    Unlike judges who are not appointed for specific terms (except in the case of temporary appointments), members of the authority are appointed for a finite term and it does not automatically follow that they will be re-appointed.

    It is very easy for someone like Darien Fenton to accuse the government of cronyism. She knows that the government cannot respond by, for example, releasing a report that may have been prepared by the Chief of the Authority without breaching privacy issues. She does not substantiate her allegation and I doubt very much whether she is capable of doing so. I doubt whether she has sufficient analysis of the performance of individual members – those appointed and does not appointed – and the capabilities of those pointed instead to be able to identify that cronyism was the sole or in fact any part of the motivation.

    This is cheap politicking relying entirely on the Labour Party philosophy that if you throw enough mud, some of it may stick.

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  8. Rick Rowling (816 comments) says:

    Reminds me of Mike Williams on RNZ the other month, on why Labour supports retaining anonymous donations – something like

    “some people may be in role where they’re supposed to be politically neutral, like a senior civil servant, but want to support a party financially anyway”.

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  9. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    Nookin … “She knows that the government cannot respond by, for example, releasing a report that may have been prepared by the Chief of the Authority without breaching privacy issues. …”

    Correct , however I would think they could report on which of the re-appointment recommendations made by the Authority Chief that were ignored in favour of new appointments.

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