First is Maryan Street who spent all of Wednesday defending the $65,000 conference at Tongariro Lodge (ably backed by various Labour blogs) to then have the carpet pulled out from under her by the PM who declared yesterday it was totally unacceptable, the Minister was wrong, the Chair had been reprimanded and the CEO should have her salary docked.
Clark’s response, while somewhat over the top, is the one Street should have had from the beginning. I do think David Parker went far too far when he actually said he thought the CEO should have their pay docked – does the man not know anything about employment law and undue pressure? Anyway Clark understands that the issue is the nature of the resort. As I said – hold it at Rotorua Novotel and there would be no issue.
It didn’t get better for Street as it was revealed there was a second plush conference in 2003 at the Heritage Hotel & Spa du Vin. Meanwhile the Hawke’s Bay DHB couldn’t help scoring a point, pointing out their retreat for managers cost only $180!
What is surprising is the Street ignored Clark’s advice not to defend it, but did anyway – and then got over-ruled. Street has impressed many for her abilities to date – it remains to be seen.
Then you have Clayton Cosgrove, as more and more questions are asked about what he did or did not know, and how he has claimed there has been no cases of corruption – directly contradicting answers from his predecessor, Again Cosgrove has generally been astute championing populist issues. Hell even I cheered him on as he deals to elements on the real estate industry. But he does appear to have shown a remarkable lack of curiousity when it comes to a less populist issue – the Immigration Service.
The Herald also looks at Parker dealing with both the power shortage issues and the Emissions Trading Scheme. I have to say Parker baffles me. He came in as a potential star and I was initially a fan as he actually had a sucessful business background and appeared to be quite snesible and moderate on economic issues.
I’m not sure what has happened, but he really is struggling for credibility. He is almost cut out of the decision making process on the ETS, and just does not inspire confidence at all. I’m not saying this because he is Labour. Many of their Ministers are quite competent – I just don’t like their policies. I thought Parker would be one of the better ones, but I remain unconvinced.