Thursday, June 28, 2012

More cronyism

It seems that last week's appointments to the new Health Promotion Agency included a third crony I hadn't noticed: board chair Dr Lee Mathias. Dr Matthias is a former nurse and deputy chair of the Auckland DHB - but they are also electorate chair for National MP Sam Lotu-Iiga. This taints their appointment, and makes it seem like it is yet another case of "jobs for the boys". While there's a chance that he was appointed on merit, its instantly suspicious, and the onus is on the Minister to show that they are not engaging in cronyism. This means leaving a detailed paper trail showing a demonstrably fair and transparent appointments process, rather than a murky soup in which the appointed crony was nominated by the Minister and nodded through by Cabinet with no proper checks. We ought to know that in twenty working days.

Its difficult to spot cronies at this level. Its easy to recognise former MPs and high party officials, but electorate chairs are not particularly public positions. I'm glad the media are paying attention and identifying dodgy appointments; hopefully the next step will be Ministers being held to account for such appointments.