The blot on Aaron’s copybook means he has missed out on Paula’s patronage

Poor old Aaron Gilmore should be kicking his own butt. Hard.

He only had to keep his nose clean and we Nats would have rewarded him with a nice job somewhere whenever he decided to give up politics.

That’s what we did with Dr Jackie Blue, who recently was appointed the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

Aaron didn’t keep his nose clean, of course, and he is quitting in unhappy circumstances.

Alas, he therefore shouldn’t expect to be rewarded with a job like…

Let’s see.

Well, he could have landed himself a job on the Families Commission board.

Christine Rankin, who now heads the Conservative Party, is giving up her place on the board.

The way Alf hears it, the splendid Paula Bennett applied the wonderful principle that charity should begin at home, when making fresh appointments.

According to one of Alf’s cabinet mates, she looked around the Cabinet table and spotted the equally splendid Hekia Parata, our Minister of Education.

What’s Wira up to these days? she inquired.

He’s got a nice little number at Te Papa, Hekia said, but the household budget is stretched and we could always use a few more dollars.

And so it came to pass that Sir Wira Gardiner has a new job at the Families Commission, which is sure to fit in very comfortably with whatever needs doing at Te Papa, which nowadays includes rejecting offers of ancient motor cars unless the person making the offer can demonstrate that Maori persons might have sat in the car at some time.

Mind you, Alf doesn’t necessarily believe everything his Cabinet mate tells him, because this particular Cabinet mate is apt to dose off during cabinet meetings at times.

And Paula will tell us Sir Wira got the job entirely on merit, which – of course – is obviously true. If he lacked merit he would not be a Nat.

Parmjeet Parmar will fill the other vacancy on the board. She chairs the New Zealand Sikh Women Association, which supports victims of domestic violence.

Paula overlooked the small matter of Wira’s relationship to Hekia, in the media statement she released today.

Quite right too.

It’s nobody’s business how was Nats divvy up the rewards of office among ourselves and our mates.

If she had mentioned that Lady Gardiner and our Hekia are one and the same, those tossers at The Standard would be accusing us yet again of cronyism.

No, Paula was circumspect and said:

Sir Wira Gardiner and Dr Parmjeet Parmar have been appointed to two vacant positions on the Board of the Families Commission, while Christine Rankin ends her term as Board member at the end of this month.

“I welcome Sir Wira and Dr Parmar to the Board with full confidence they will make a valuable contribution to the Families Commission,” says Mrs Bennett.

Sir Wira has held a number of senior positions including founding Director of the Waitangi Tribunal and Chief Executive of Te Puni Kōkiri. He is a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori.

Dr Parmar has a PhD in Biological Science and Chairs the New Zealand Sikh Women Association which supports victims of domestic violence. She also previously served on the Families Commission ethnic reference group.

Paula graciously thanked Christine Rankin for her dedicated work for the Families Commission, in particular “her unrelenting advocacy for the protection of children”.

The Families Commission is undergoing a restructure to assume its new role providing independent monitoring, evaluation and research which includes a new Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (SuPERU).

A number of other changes to functions and governance arrangements in the Families Commission Amendment Bill before the House include:

* A new annual Families Status Report on the well-being of families

* Social Science Experts Panel to provide academic peer review and guidance

* One Families Commissioner with a maximum of six other members

Paula said non-government organisations welcome the advent of an independent body that can provide robust evaluation and monitoring of their programmes.

This also supported the Government’s priority for evidence-based policy and funding decisions based on best evidence, she said.

Dunno if Aaron spotted Wira’s appointment and sensed he had been hard done by.

He is said to be capable of exercising a terrible form of utu.

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