Should Ministers get NGO staff to deliver speeches for them?

A reader has pointed out this speech on behalf of Tariana Turia:

2012 Tobacco-free Aotearoa Conference

Friday, 9 November 2012, 10:13 am

Speech: New Zealand Government

Hon

Associate Minister of Health

Thursday 8 November 2012; 6.45pm

SPEECH

2012 Tobacco-free Aotearoa Conference

Banquet Hall; Parliament, Wellington,

[delivered on her behalf by Skye Kimura]

Skye Kimura is the National Tobacco Control Advisor for the Cancer Society, a partly taxpayer funded NGO.

Now I think the Cancer Society does excellent work, and I donate to them. I have no criticism of them for delivering a speech on behalf of a Minister.

But I do wonder about the appropriateness of a Minister of the Crown having an NGO deliver a speech on their behalf. I think it sets a bad precedent. Would you think it appropriate for Phil O’Reilly from Business NZ to deliver a speech on behalf of the Minister of Economic Development?

If Ministers can not deliver a speech in person, then it is normal for a backbench MP to deliver it, or even an official from their department. I don’t think NGOs should have any role in speaking for Ministers.

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