The Herald reports:
President Donald Trump’s nomination of his Kiwi staffer for the OECD top job has divided New Zealand’s political parties.
Chris Liddell, who was born in Matamata and went to Mt Albert Grammar, has been put forward by Trump to the position of Secretary General of the OECD.
Liddell currently serves as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy co-ordination at the White House and to help lead America’s Covid-19 response.
The Greens’ foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said it was “literally dangerous” to back a man who helped lead the States’ Covid-19 response.
“Trumpish anti-science, anti-co-operation, politics have no place in international governance,” she tweeted.
Ghahraman said New Zealand “overwhelmingly” voted in support of the Government’s Covid response which was rejected in the United States and Liddell was “not our values”.
Liddell is also reported to have been involved in the Trump administration’s decision to separate migrant children from their parents.
But National’s foreign affairs spokesperson Simon Bridges said New Zealand should support Liddell for the position because “he’s one of us”.
“It’s in our interest to do so.
“He’s ultimately – and always will be – a boy from Matamata. Having him [at the OECD] means a foot in the door for New Zealand. We’ll have an access we just won’t get if it’s someone from another country.”
Bridges said a lot of people would “confuse” Liddell’s role in Trump’s administration and be dubious of New Zealand supporting him – but said everything he’d seen showed Liddell had his own views.
The Trump administration has taken a hostile approach to multilateral trade.
Bridges said he “would be very surprised” if Liddell, given his Kiwi and professional background, didn’t support free trade and wasn’t in favour of market-based principles.
Nominations for the position are still open and a spokesman for the Prime Minister said the Government would make a decision on who to support when nominations closed.
I am no fan of Trump, but I am equally not a fan of the argument that we should not support Chris Liddell because he works for Trump.
Let’s think about that argument, made by the Greens. It is that someone isn’t suitable for senior office if they have worked for a politician we disapprove of.
Tony Blair was hated by many on the left. He is still despised by most UK Labour people today. They see him as a war criminal or worse.
So by Green Party logic, someone who worked for Tony Blair should be deemed unsuitable for high office.
Now as it happens Jacinda Ardern worked for Tony Blair!