Dame Margaret Bazley

A fascinating profile of Dame Margaret Bazley in The Press. Some extracts:

But she remained conscious of the accusation that her appointment had been tokenism, so when “a bloke’s job” came up, she applied for it and got it. That was Secretary of Transport, in which a workforce of 4500 was boiled down to just 50, she says. I had to be sure I heard that right. Fifty? You can understand why some called her the government’s hatchet woman. 

“You’re not there to do soft things. You’re there to do what’s right and proper. Often that doesn’t please people.” 

Popularity and correctness are not the same thing.

Nor is there is any room for doubt. You have to be convinced that it’s right and proper. But what happens if you feel it is not? 

“You have the opportunity to persuade ministers. I’ve always known that if I can’t support the government of the day, be loyal and serve that government, then I have the other option, which is to resign.” 

She has never approved of those who stay and pursue their own agenda.

Which is what the county clerk in the US is doing – refusing to do her job.

“I remember when Louise Nicholas started talking, I thought: this is going to end up with an inquiry. They will need a woman to do that and they will have difficulty finding someone. The thought crossed my mind that I would have been one of the few women that had ever managed blokes. Since I took over the male side of Sunnyside in my 20s, I learnt how to manage men. It’s quite different to managing women or integrated men and women.

“I’m very pleased I did the police inquiry. I think Louise Nicholas has changed the way the police operate. My report has kept the police challenged right up to the present day. They have made colossal change.”

Of course, there was resistance. Police hierarchy tried to block parts of Bazley’s inquiry and the three men at the centre of the rape allegations reportedly hired a private investigator to dig into her past.

I did not know that. Appalling.

Although, as noted earlier, retirement has been a relative concept. ECan still occupies Wednesday to Friday. Thursdays are for meetings of the commissioners. Fridays are for visits.

“I love going out to meet the farmers. They really are lovely people to work with. It’s one of the perks of the job.”

What a great idea – actually meeting people affected by your decisions, rather than just sitting in an office.

Bazley talks of broken relationships that have been repaired, and not just with farmers but with Ngai Tahu and the Canterbury mayors, who have signed up to a Canterbury Economic Development Strategy that directs them towards different work programmes. Timaru Mayor Damon Odey works on broadband, Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers works on work skills for school leavers, and so on. 

So working as a team.

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