Not a Dunne deal

David Williams reports in The Press:

The Government has moved into damage control after it emerged senior civil servant will not be Christchurch’s first recovery tsar.

Earthquake Recovery Minister confirmed in a press release yesterday that Dunne would not be involved in the new government department.

The department will manage Canterbury’s recovery from the devastating February 22 earthquake.

Brownlee refused to be interviewed yesterday by The Press, including about suggestions Dunne had turned down the role because he would not work with Brownlee.

In his press release, Brownlee said Dunne had been contracted to the State Services Commission to help set up the new department and that media speculation about his role had been “premature”.

It may have been premature but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t correct. When Trans-Tasman published the name of whom they thought was taking the job, the Government said it wasn’t him within minutes.

With Dunne, his name was kept out there for several days. Hence I think one can conclude he was the preferred candidate and had been offered the job. And it is a shame he will not be doing it, as he really does have a good reputation.

However, Paul Holmes, the presenter of television current affairs show Q+A, said yesterday Dunne had “turned down the job, not wanting to work with Mr Brownlee, we understand”.

I’m not sure why Paul said that was the reason. It’s hard to judge how credible that is, without any details. Personally, I’m a bit sceptical because Gerry being the Minister in charge has been known throughout. If that was the problem, I’d expect Dunne to have said he was not interested at the first opportunity.

What might be the cause (and i am just speculating) was the proposed division of powers between the Minister and the CEO.

Regardless of the cause, it is a setback. Hopefully an appointment can still be made quickly.

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