I really wanted to begin this week with something positive. But the bad news just keeps coming for this government. Last week’s sordid fiasco over alleged impropriety on the part of Cabinet Minister Richard Worth was the latest in a long line of stuff ups stemming from bad decision-making around political appointments.
First there was the ill-advised addition of Christine Rankin to chair the Families Commission, then poor Melissa Lee got thrown to the lions in the unwinnable Mt Albert electorate. Now the resignation of a Cabinet Minister. It raises questions about the political judgement surrounding the original appointments and about the level of talent that the Prime Minister has at his disposal.
I actually posted a comment on Twitter in mid-April predicting that Richard Worth would be “gone by lunchtime”. Although it had become self evident that he had an unhealthy predisposition towards self-destructive behaviour, even I was surprised how rapidly the end came for him. As for Rankin, I’ll give it 12 months before she exits with another nice golden handshake amidst a cloud of controversy. Nice work if you can get it.
I have a little more sympathy for Lee however. I admire that she is an Asian woman that has succeeded with her own business in the male-dominated world of media. I also think her media colleagues were a little unfair in talking up the back story from the disgruntled former employee. To make matters worse, she has also been saddled with the near impossible task of attempting to wrestle Helen Clark’s former seat from Labour. It will certainly be a character building experience and perhaps that was the rationale.
The problem for the rest of the country is that whilst the traditional media are salivating over this tedious daily reality TV fest, there are far more important tasks at hand that are not getting proper coverage, like exploring why the government is not fully addressing research, science and technology commercialisation and entrepreneurship as a basis for the economic recovery.