Jan 17, 2008

Why Is Having A Labour Party Activist At Government House a Worry?

A couple of readers have e-mailed asking why we are so worried about the appointment of Rob Taylor as Chief Secretary at Government House (should the rumour be true)?

Lets explain. This is election year. Most people believe that National will be the largest party in the new Parliament but only the very brave are saying that National will win more than 50% of the vote. Most people believe that the next Government will be determined by a coalition deal stitched up after the election. And it is quite possible that things will be very close in this coalition race. The Governor-General might well be confronted with a choice as to which side has formed the coalition/supply support agreement that is most likely work. It hasn't happened yet, but it could. Both Labour and National could be going to the GG to say that they can form a government. In these circumstances The Hive would rather have a totally impartial Chief Secretary at Government House rather than one who wants another three years of Labour. The Chief Secretary would be the first port of call for counsel for the GG.

We are also worried about the nature of this appointment. If this is a secondment from MFAT, this places enormous power in the hands of the MFAT CEO, because, even though this is not meant to happen, MFAT secondees tend to take their instructions from the MFAT CEO (their permanent employer and the determinant of ultimate career destiny) as opposed to their temporary employer. We are not at all sure that MFAT wants a change of Government. Groser as Trade, Murray McCully as Foreign, and John Hayes as ODA And Pacific Affairs Minister (probably outside Cabinet) this would be a nightmare. Look what has happened across the ditch. Rudd has already cut 19 overseas positions at DFAT and trimmed back the travel vote by 10%. He knew exactly where to look for the waste. Will the MFAT turkeys really be wanting to see an early Christmas? We don't think so.

These are all serious questions which you would expect the NZ media to be exploring in more depth than we have time to do. Likewise we would have thought that National and other parties might have something to say also. It will be interesting to see whether any of this happens.