Wednesday, May 01, 2013

How Devoy's appointment was stitched up

How do you get a manifestly unqualified crony appointed to an important position? Simple: get manifestly unqualified people to interview them. And that's exactly what happened in the case of Susan Devoy:

New Zealand Post chief executive Brian Roche and Defence Secretary Helene Quilter were on the panel that interviewed Dame Susan Devoy for the job of Race Relations Commissioner.

The disclosure follows a written Parliamentary question filed by the Green Party, which describes the make-up of the panel as extremely odd.

Catherine Delahunty MP said the assessment panel did not have the background to do its job.

The relevance of the defence and postal operations to human rights is left as an exercise for the reader.

The SSC's Board Appointment and Induction Guidelines [PDF] has some pretty clear guidance on interview panels:
Where possible, the chair should be involved. Departments should assemble an interview panel that matches the requirements of the board or body and the particular board vacancy.

That guidance appears to have been ignored. Instead, Devoy was interviewed by people unfamiliar with the role, and there was not even a representative from the Human Rights Commission the panel. Its hardly surprising then that they made such a poor decision which seemed to ignore the clear statutory requirements of the position.

I'm still waiting for my documents on the appointments process, but judging by what's been publicly revealed so far, it appears to have been a stitch-up from start to finish. I wonder if you can bring a judicial review of a Crown Entity appointment?