Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nick Smith's personal cronyism

Cronyism is an emerging theme of this government, with favoured friends of the National Party being appointed to cushy, well-remunerated sinecures or crucial positions with a total absence of process. That's bad enough, but Nick Smith seems to have gone further, attempting to secure an ACC payout for a friend by writing her a "personal reference" on Ministerial letterhead, while Minister for ACC. The "reference" [PDF] said:

I can confirm, however, that in my many contacts with [X] prior to the accident she was well and a dynamic, capable person who worked hard and achieved a lot. To the best of my knowledge she did not have any health or other conditions that would have compromised her capacity to work.
Or, in other words, "this person has no pre-existing conditions, so give her money". Its a serious intervention into ACC's operational affairs, and a clear attempt to influence their decision. And when you're a Minister, that's absolutely unacceptable.

So, what does John Key think of all this? He's relaxed about it of course, and won't be demanding Smith's resignation. Just another example of his "higher standards" in government.