I feel like I am talking about the old Roman Republic when I blog about the consulship, but anyway let us look at one exchange in Parliament yesterday:
John Key: Further to her response to my question yesterday, has she at any time had any discussions with the President of the New Zealand Labour Party, Mike Williams, regarding the possible appointment of Owen Glenn as New Zealand’s honorary consul to Monaco?
Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: As I said to the House yesterday, I became aware that Mr Glenn had expressed such an interest. Since becoming aware, I have obviously had that as a matter of discussion with Mr Winston Peters. Mr Williams has also talked to me about it. I repeat that Mr Glenn’s interest was expressed in just the same way that Mr Richard Worth advanced the cause of a friend of his; when Mr Worth wrote to the previous Minister of Foreign Affairs about the matter, he told Mr Phil Goff: “There is an aspect of substantial self-interest behind my request that the New Zealand Government appoint a consul in Monaco.”
Now this confirms that Mike Williams talked to the PM about making Glenn an Honorary Consul. Now why would the Prime Minister talk to her party fundraiser over a government appointment? I mean, they keep saying the two are not linked.
And her reference to Richard Worth is so stupid, it shows how rattled she is. In case anyone does not know Richard is Monaco’s honorary consul to New Zealand. I have no idea why the Monaco Government appointed him (around 15 years ago I think) but I think I am safe in assuming it was not because he donated $500,000 to Prince Albert.
Now it seems Dr Worth wrote a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs proposing someone as a suitable consul for NZ to Monaco. And in that letter he noted his request had an “an aspect of substantial self-interest”.
Now this is exactly how it should be done. No private secret discussions with no records. Dr Worth wrote an on the record letter (and to a political enemy) proposing someone he thought would be suitable. And in the letter he noted he had a conflict of interest in making the recommendation. Now that is exactly what you want people to do – declare their conflicts of interests. So for Clark to hold this up as something improper just shows how bad her own judgement is.