The Herald reported:
Labour is accusing the National-led Government of cronyism after Social Development Minister Paula Bennett hired her former adviser – a Cabinet minister’s sister – as Chief Families Commissioner.
Mrs Bennett defended the appointment of Belinda Milnes, saying she was the right person for the job. As minister, she had been careful in the hiring process because of the candidate’s ties to the National Party.
Ms Milnes was previously a senior adviser to Mrs Bennett and is Cabinet minister Amy Adams’ sister.
I know Belinda well. She is a star, and will do a great job. I would also point out she has been involved in the welfare area for at least 10 years before Amy became an MP. I think few would claim she should not be considered for a role, because of her sister.
Now Belinda can be considered a political appointment as she has worked for Roger Sowry and Paula Bennett. However here’s what I blogged in July 2008 on political appointments:
- Never have those with political connections forming a majority or even close to a majority on a board.
- Unless someone was already a professional company director (or widely seen as possessing similar skills), they should not be appointed to more than a couple of boards.
- Appointees must bring genuine value to a board – their appointments must be based on merit, even if they have political connections.
- The more important a board, the more critical it is that the appointees be top class.
So what I have consistently said is that of course Governments will appoint people who are fairly like-minded to boards. But the key thing is that they should not be close to a majority on a board, they should not get multiple boards unless highly qualified, and they must bring value and make it there on merit.
I have no doubt Belinda will be of great value to the Families Commission.
Labour was also accused of political appointments while in Government, but its MPs felt National was especially guilty of this.
This is so outrageous that I can’t let it pass. Let me say that many in National actually complain that so few of its supporters have ended up with board positions, and the contrast with Labour is enormous. Here’s just a few political appointments made by Labour when they were in office.
- Geoffrey Palmer invited to conduct review of Law Commission, appointed to the International Whaling Commission, made Chair of the Legislation Advisory Committee, appointed as President of the Law Commission in November 2005
- Lesley Soper (Labour candidate and later MP) appointed to the Southern Hospital and Health Services Board (HHS)
- Simon Mitchell appointed to the LTSA
- Louisa Wall appointed to LTSA
- Shane Jones appointed to the Industry New Zealand board, appointed to the Poutama Trust, appointed to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, appointed him to the RMA Reference Group
- Jill White appointed to the board of the Environmental Risk Management Authority, later appointed chair of Bioethics Council.
- Graham Hill appointed to the MetService.
- Rosslyn Noonan appointed Human Rights Commissioner
- Warren Lindberg appointed to Human Rights Commission
- Ella Henry appointed to Human Rights Commission
- Maryan Street appointed to the board of the Housing New Zealand corporation and also appointed to the board of the Centre for Housing Research in August 2003
- Alison Timmsappointed to the Radio New Zealand Board, appointed to the New Zealand Parole Board, a member of the Casino Control Authority
- Stan Roger appointed to chair Pay Parity Working Group for Kindergarten Teachers, also appointed to a new panel providing independent advice to the government on injury-related information, also appointed as a Commssioner of the Electricity Commission
- Kathie Irwin was appointed head of the Teacher’s Council
- Judy Callingham appointed to the board of NZ on Air and to the Film and Literature Review Board:
- Ken Douglas appointed to Industry and Trade agency, appointed Chair of Whanganui DHB
- Ray Potroz appointed to Biology Taskforce and appointed the ACC Board
- Andrew Little appointed as member of the Transition Tertiary Education Commission and also appointed to the Manufacturing Advisory Group.
- Gregory Fortuin appointed to Accident Compensation Corporation, Families Commission, NZ Post, Kiwibank, the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, and Transpower
- Dave Morgan, appointed to the MSA board
- John Wright appointed to the Transit Board
- Sandra Lee, is appointed as High Commissioner to Niue.
- Eamon Daly is appointed to the Bioethics Council, to the Human Rights Review Panel
- Helen Kelly appointed to Fee Maxima reference group
- Graham Kelly appointed New Zealand High Commissioner to Canada.
- Sam Huggard appointed the Lottery youth committee
- Dame Anne Hercus appointed to TVNZ Board.
- Philida Bunkle, appointed to the Alcohol Advisory Council
- Charles Chauvel appointed to the Lotteries Commission
- Angela Foulkes to the board of the NZQA
- Alick Shaw to Creative New Zealand and ALAC.
- Dr Rajen Prasad appointed as Chief Commissioner of the Families Commission
- Polly Schaverien appointed to the Correspondence School’s board and a director of Meridian Energy and the MetService.
- Bryan Gould appointed to TVNZ Board and to chair of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
- Carol Beaumont appointed to the Food and Beverage Taskforce, appointed to the Government’s Small Business Advisory Group, appointed to the Workplace Health and Safety Council
- Russell Marshall made chair of the Tertiary Education Commission
- Ross Wilson appointed to Tertiary Education Commission
- Sue Piper, appointed to the Local Government Commission, appointed to the board of Te Papa, appointed to the board of Quotable Value, the New Zealand Law Practitioner’s Disciplinary Tribunal.
- Greg Presland appointed to the NZ Film and Literature Review board and LTSA
- July 2006 – Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard today announced new appointments to the Board of Te Papa Tongarewa.
- Bob Harvey is appointed to the NZ Film Commission, Te Papa Board
- Jenny Agnew appointed to the Government’s Small Business Advisory Group
- Robyn Northey to the Alcohol Advisory Council.
- Peter Conway appointed to NZTE Board
- Garry Moore have both been appointed to the board of Transit New Zealand.
- Andrew Casidyappointed to the Workplace Health and Safety Council
- Paul Jarvie appointed to the Workplace Health and Safety Council
- Ross Wilson appointed ACC Chair
- Sandra Lee appointed to Te Papa Board
- David Shand appointed TEC Chair:, chair of a Local Government rates inquiry, chair of the Tertiary Education Capital Investment Fund, board of Meridian Energy
- David Caygill, appointed Chair of the Electricity Commission
- Phil Harington appointed to Lottery Grants Board
- Mike Williams to board of Genesis Energy and Ontrack and ARTA and Transit NZ and GNS.
- Alick Shaw to NZTA Board
- Garry Moore to NZTA Board
- Christine Caughey to NZTA Board
- Dianne Yates appointed to FSANZ Board, board of Learning Media, Trust Waikato and Waikato Institute of Technology.
- Helen Kelly appointed as director of the Growth and Innovation Advisory Board.
- Chris Eichbaum was appointed to the board of the Reserve Bank.
- Penny Hulse appointed to the EECA board
- Richard Northey appointed to an Arms Control Advisory Group
- Andrew Campbell appointed to the Fee Maxima reference group [UPDATE: Andrew was there as President of NZUSA, not a Govt appointee]
- Richard Pole to Doctors in Training Workforce Roundtable
- Kevin Hague to Quality Improvement Committee
I’ve probably missed heaps. but that gives you an idea of how rampant these appointments were under Labour. Now as I said previously the fact they had political connections does not make them all bad appointments. But if Labour ever again try and suggest they did not do political appointments when in office, I’ll republish this list. Feel free to add on in the comments any I have missed!