The Mahuta family saga

A number of media outlets have written about contracts that have gone to members of the Mahuta family.

The Platform reports in detail. It ranges from her sister being appointed to numerous boards to a five person waste strategy working group having no fewer than three Mahuta family members on it.

I should make clear that I don’t think this is a about any wrong doing on the part of Nanaia Mahuta. The analogy I would use is that this is more a Hunter Biden situation. Joe Biden did nothing to help Hunter Biden gain board appointments, yet it is obvious that Hunter was appointed to roles he had no expertise for, because of his family connection. Hunter Biden was appointed to the boards of a Ukrainian energy company and a Chinese investment company.

Of course having a Minister as a family member should not be a bar to receiving appointments. What you have to look at is whether they are roles they would have gained anyway. Sir Wira Gardiner was appointed to many roles by both National and Labour Governments. But these started long before he married Hekia Parata. Denese Henare was appointed a Judge, but no one thinks this is because she was married to Wayne Mapp. Apryll Parata was appointed a second level manager at the Ministry of Education when her sister was Minister. But Parata had a long career in education. Interestingly the appointment of Apryll Parata was criticised by no less than Nanaia Mahuta.

But this is very different to three out of five members of a working group all being members of the same family. I can’t recall that ever happening. And the process used was very non-transparent. Were these family members regularly gaining Government contracts before Mahuta was made a Minister would be a key question?

They were paid $90,000 for their work on waste strategy. Were there no other waste experts in New Zealand that three of the five members had to come from the same family?

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