No Right Turn blogs:
The previous government was notorious for cronyism, running fake appointment processes for form’s sake before shoehorning their preferred cronies in at the last minute. That was pretty blatantly corrupt, but in less than a year the new government has managed to surpass them, with the appointment of former Labour MP Steve Maharey as chair of Pharmac. When Maharey was appointed, I submitted the usual OIA request seeking details on the process. The released documents show cronyism so naked that I have not seen it before in New Zealand.
Basically what happened is:
First, Health Minister David Clark received advice to reappoint the existing board chair Stuart McLauchlan to manage Pharmac through upcoming changes, or at least temporarily reappoint him so a proper process to find a replacement could be run …
This advice was ignored. Which would be fine if Clark had then run a proper appointment process to appoint someone on merit. Instead, he simply shoulder-tapped Maharey, on the basis of “skills and experience which are well known to the Minister of Health”.
No position description, no application, no interviews, nothing. Just $48,000 a year for knowing the right person. Its cronyism, pure and simple.
I’m not against former Ministers getting board appointments. But I’ve never before seen one appointed with no process at all – just on the whim of the Minister. No advertising, no consideration of other people.