Mike Williams’ new job

The Sunday News reports:

SECRET documents suggest that former Labour Party president Mike Williams got the $100,000-plus a year job heading the anti-P Stellar Trust mainly because he is mates with Paul Holmes.

“Clearly there are some risks with the Williams appointment,” reads a confidential paper from the Trust’s board.

“There may well be other candidates in the marketplace who may be capable of doing a better job as CEO and chief fundraiser, however if we go that route we will very likely not have Holmes’ involvement,” it continues.

It is no secret that Holmes and Williams are close mates, so this is little surprise.

The document, dated August 2, adds: “Our recommendation therefore is to offer the CEO role to Mike Williams, but to give ourselves the ability to review the situation after say six months, subject to the constraints of current employment law.

“If he has not succeeded in raising significant sums in that time, there will not be enough funding for his continuing salary, so he does have an incentive to succeed.”

I am no fan of Williams, but to be fair to him he seemed to be reasonably proficient in fundraising for Labour.

But Williams’s appointment has led to high profile, anti-P crusader Mike Sabin and his group MethCon withdrawing their support for the Stellar Trust.

He sent an email to the board on August 10 which read: “It is with some regret I wish to advise that I am unable to reconcile my concerns about the appointment of Mike Williams to the position of CEO to the trust. I believe this is a high risk appointment that will be very polarising given the political overtones.”

It is understood that Sabin, a former drug squad detective, believed Labour approached the P epidemic with a polarising “harm minimisation” approach, treating it as a public health and welfare issue rather than a public order problem.

Sabin may well be right, but really I wouldn’t hld the former party president responsible for what the parliamentary wing or Ministers decided.

The Stellar Trust board’s confidential August 2 paper also revealed there was a concern about how Williams’ appointment would be accepted by the National Government.

After last year’s election, Williams left Labour’s engine-room following a series of controversial media reports, including how he flew to Australia seeking dirt on John Key.

The Trust’s reservations were passed on to Holmes, regarded as the public face of Stellar.

The broadcaster sought the Prime Minister’s views.

Key last night confirmed a call between himself and Holmes on July 26.

“I’ve moved on and I’m not a person who holds grudges.

“If Mike is prepared to spend his time trying to combat P, given the devastation that drug is causing, then I’m happy to work with him,” he told Sunday News.

Could you imagine Helen Clark saying the same thing about someone who had flown to another country in a (failed) attempt to smear her as a criminal fraudster?

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