Wednesday, February 07, 2018

More cronyism

The government is apparently planning to give former Labour MP Annette King a diplomatic sinecure:

Former MP Dame Annette King is tipped to be appointed the next High Commissioner to Australia by the end of the year.

King left Parliament at the last election and was made a Dame in the New Year's Honours.

It is understood King is now in line to be appointed as High Commissioner for Australia in the middle of the year and will take up the post when the current High Commissioner Chris Seed leaves after August.

If true, this is simply more cronyism. While heads of mission are technically appointed by the Governor-General rather than the Chief Executive, they still become public servants. The principle of appointment on merit should apply - especially to our most important diplomatic position. The idea that you just appoint a crony as a political favour so they can drink themselves senseless for three years at public expense is a loathsome relic of the British monarchy and belongs in the dustbin of history with the rest of the imperial baggage.

Pre-election, Winston Peters reportedly said he would restore appointment on merit for diplomatic posting, and recall National's crony appointments. I'd like to see him keep his word on this. Those appointments were wrong and should never have been made. If Winston wants a legacy, ending this culture of high-level cronyism would be an excellent one.

But I guess then he'll never get the diplomatic post he's been dreaming of as a retirement sinecure... and so the self-interest and greed of our political class screws us all again.