Tariana Turia steps up to defend Te Wananga o Aotearoa's indefensible practice of giving out jobs and contracts to the director's relatives. According to Turia, it's not nepotism, but "whanaungatanga" [kinship], and done because the relatives can be trusted to do the job. But while this is perfectly acceptable in private business, it is not acceptable in a government funded organisation - firstly, because there are rules on how contracts and tenders are let, which require that they be given to the best bidder (rather than the one who is a relative), and secondly because we expect public institutions to give jobs to people on merit, not blood-ties or cronyism. The latter in particular is the basis of our professional and neutral public service, and is a fundamental principle of public service organisations all around the world.
What Turia is really defending is the "right" of publicly appointed managers to turn a public organisation into a private fiefdom, and run it for their own benefit. And that is something we should not tolerate. This is not to discount the good that Te Wananga has done - boosting the rates of Maori tertiary training has been of immense benefit - but I don't see any reason why that good must come at the cost of nepotism and cronyism.