Should Ministers get NGO staff to deliver speeches for them?

November 15th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

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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12 Responses to “Should Ministers get NGO staff to deliver speeches for them?”

  1. Manolo (13,386 comments) says:

    The baubles of office went to the head of this senile, incompetent woman.

    [DPF: 20 demerits]

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  2. lastmanstanding (1,207 comments) says:

    yet another example of the unhealthy relationships between our elected representatives and non elected pressure groups. One has to ask what sort of deals are being done behind closed doors that the citizens are not aware of.
    Time we had some disclosure and transperancy. Its suppose to be a democracy we live in however many dont either understand or believe in the good governance principles of a democracy.

    In the case of most its ignorance. They woudnt recognise a good governance principle if it smacked them in the mouth.

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  3. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    “I don’t think NGOs should have any role in speaking for Ministers.”

    Probably not – but what if they virtually wrote the speech? Isn’t the source of the speech at least as important as the speaker?

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  4. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    You cant talk about dear old Aunty Tari like that Manolo! Shes only trying to do her best for her people!

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  5. Manolo (13,386 comments) says:

    Anywhere else but in NZ the racist grandnana Turia would be in a rest-home knitting and eating mashed carrots.
    Only here such incompetent woman is allowed to become a minister of the Crown. Figure that out.

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  6. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Well we can thank our saviour John Key for that. Speaking of old racists, I wonder what Pita’s up to?

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  7. Rex Widerstrom (5,274 comments) says:

    More to the point (because, let’s face it, rank incompetence and inappropriate decision making from a politician? What’s new?) is that an NGO would consider it appropriate to deliver a Minister’s speech.

    I’ve provided communications / government relations advice to many NGOs and I’d have counselled against it if any had ever been naive enough to ask, but none have. They know that to retain any credibility at all they must be seen to be independent of government. A handful even go so far as to refuse to accept any financial support from government lest it lead to the perception that they are afraid to criticise policy because of it.

    In that time there have been instances where a Minister hasn’t turned up to an NGO function, but a always a backbencher has been sent in their stead. I mean what else do they have to do, especially if they’re a List MP?! But had they not I can’t think of anyone in NGO management I’ve worked with in the past 20 years who’d have said “The Minister can’t make it? Never mind, we’ll read her speech for her”. That sends so many wrong messages, it makes my head spin.

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  8. Alfred (52 comments) says:

    DPF surely there is a convention around who can give a speech on behalf of the Crown – as that is what Minister Tariana Turia is/ or was doing when she agreed to give this speech in the first place.

    To have an NGO give a Ministerial speech on an issue during a time when the Government is actually considering an issue that the NGOs are lobbying about is unbelievable.

    Makes you wonder whether the tobacco industry now has grounds to complain that the process has been tainted and Minister Turia should be removed from the process. The Minister has now demonstrated her bias and if this hasn’t demonstrated a pre-determination of an outcome while a Consultation process is underway, then I don’t know what does.

    Tony Ryall and the Nats should be alarmed that Turia is so casual with her portfolio that it potentially undermines the position of Cabinet responsibility. Just imagine the howls of outrage from the left or the Greens if, as you say, Phil O’Rielly gave a Ministerial speech on economic policy.

    To casually pass this off as a “Well, that’s the Maori Party for you, they do things a bit differently” is simply not good enough.

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  9. Manolo (5 comments) says:

    The incompetent racist Turia lacks brains and common sense. A trougher and no-hoper enjoying the perks of office.

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  10. Steve (North Shore) (4,499 comments) says:

    I agree with Manolo but I have a question:
    Manolo (8169) @ 10.08am and Monolo (8169) @ 10.47am becomes Manolo (5) @ 2.57pm. How does that work?

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  11. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Steve (North Shore),

    It would appear that Manolo was gifted a short holiday from DPF, but didn’t realise it and thought there was some other problem with his account. I believe that Manolo (5) is now on the same holiday.

    Manolo would claim it was an unjust gift, but perhaps, instead of arguing this 20 points, he should look back on what caused him to get the other 80.

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  12. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    Why are taxpayers funding NGOs?

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