A sound appointment

Michael Fox at Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has appointed Auckland lawyer Wendy Brandon as his chief of staff.

Brandon, who worked for Cunliffe when he was minister of health, is the general counsel at the Auckland Council and a member of the executive leadership team.

“Wendy Brandon will be an outstanding chief of staff. She is a vastly experienced lawyer and manager, with a CV that spans central and local government as well as the private sector,” Cunliffe said.

He said Brandon, who this year won the Chapman Tripp public lawyer of the year award, had the right skill set for the job and would bring “depth and heft” to his office.

“At a personal level, I’ve known Wendy for many years. I trust her absolutely, and value her honesty, integrity and excellent judgment,” he said.

She will start as chief of staff on October 1.

This looks to be a very high quality appointment for Cunliffe. I do not know Brandon but her CV speaks for itself. A major party leader needs a chief of staff with gravitas who can not only direct the office, but to a reasonable degree also direct the caucus. The job is a mixture of management, risk mitigation and political advice.

It will be interesting to see what other senior appointments Cunliffe makes, but he is obviously using his network of contacts from his time as a Minister to assemble a team with more experience that Labour has had previously.

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