Those bleats from Turei should trigger a big hurray – the spy-monitoring committee will be Green-free

February 18, 2015

 

Sorry - he's the wrong colour for our intelligence committee.

Sorry – this is the wrong colour for our intelligence committee.

It looks like discord has broken out between Labour and the Greens. Hurrah.

The greenies are in a tizz because none of them will be sitting on Parliament’s intelligence and security committee. Hurrah again. The public can sleep more safely in their beds knowing their security is in safe hands.

It’s all the result of Labour leader Andrew Little shutting the minor parties  out of a place at the table where the closed-door committee will oversee a major review of the security services this year.

The Greens – boohoo – say Little has broken the law, because he didn’t consult with any other party leaders before selecting his foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer.

Read the rest of this entry »


A diplomatic response to Terence O’Brien would be to tell him Murray has the whip hand

November 27, 2014
If we did win the next election, which one of us would be Minister of Foreign Affairs?

If we did win the next election, which one of us would be Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Alf has politely (as always) declined a nice offer made by his mate Murray McCully.

The offer was that he should step into the shoes of John Allen, who has quit as boss of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to take up a position with the New Zealand Racing Board.

Well, perhaps it wasn’t a firm offer, to be honest. He was testing the waters, so to speak, and trying to ascertain Alf’s interest.

But Alf has no urge to stop representing the interests of the good people of Eketahuna North and will be sticking to his job here on the National back benches , where there is always the prospect of a long-overdue promotion to a ministerial job.

Mind you, the report this week that gave Crusher Collins a clean bill of health means she may well be higher up in the queue than he is.

More important, however, Murray’s chat with Alf somewhat scuttles the hopes of Terence O’Brien, the former New Zealand ambassador to the UN and a senior fellow at the Victoria University Centre for Strategic Studies.

Radio NZ reported him as saying Murray must accept that only a top-ranking experienced diplomat can head New Zealand’s new role at the UN Security Council.

Mr Allen’s controversial appointment in 2009 as the first non-diplomatic post to take up the top job was designed to promote New Zealand interests to the world and reinvigorate a diplomatic service marred by complacency.

Mr O’Brien said it had been five years of revolutionary change within MFAT but it was time for a chief executive with considerable diplomatic experience

“It would be timely to revert now to appointing a seasoned professional, particularly in the next two years.

“The burden of the Security Council membership is going to require leadership from the top.”

Beyond that, Radio NZ essentially provided O’Brien with a platform from which to be bitchy.

O’Brien said Allen has fulfilled Murray’s  plan to corporatise the diplomatic service, changing the job of diplomat, which has created silos and forced the departure of experienced diplomats.

But he said this approach was rejected in several countries and it should not have been attempted in New Zealand, though it could not yet be called a complete failure.

“They detracted from MFAT’s performance particularly over the question of career opportunities; a system that he introduced has made career opportunities at the top a somewhat uncertain business.”

Radio NZ also gave David Shearer the chance to remind us of his existence somewhere around No 14 or 15 in the Labour batting order.

Labour’s foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer said many experienced highly-skilled diplomats left the service in mid-career, because their job security was stripped away.

“Much of that was ordered by Murray McCully. It was carried out by John Allen. John Allen was left hanging out to dry by Murray McCully, who put the blame on him, unfairly in many cases, I believe.”
Mr Allen has had to apologise to Mr McCully for the badly-handled Malaysian diplomat case earlier this year, something Mr Shearer said highlighted significant failings.
“John Allen was completely oblivious to what was actually going on in his own ministry. McCully didn’t even ask about the situation.
“We’ll see more of those sorts of issues but more importantly we we’ll see a decline in quality, so it won’t be completely measurable but it won’t stand New Zealand in good stead.”

But Murray was having none of that pap and said MFAT was now in a strong position to capitalise on the opportunities presented by New Zealand’s term on the UN Security Council, and to meet other challenges.

“Under Mr Allen’s guidance, the Ministry has realigned New Zealand’s aid programme to ensure we are making a tangible difference in our region, continue to push for free and open trade, and managed our campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.”

So why should Allen want to bugger off from the MFAT job?

Besides getting away from a job in which he is constantly exposed to carping from Opposition politicians, Allen will get a pay rise.

He gave up a million-dollar salary at New Zealand Post when he took up the MFAT job, slicing his income in half.

The top pay band at the Racing Board – according to the Radio NZ report – is currently $960,000-$970,000.

Oh, and another thing.

The racing industry deals with galloping thoroughbreds. They won’t express any disgruntlement in the same way as Labour’s braying donkeys.

 

 

 


A Barbados posting would be a bit rum, but it sounds more attractive than Nigeria or Colombia

October 6, 2013

Mrs Grumble has become disconcertingly fascinated with the Caribbean.

This has happened since The Boss announced the Government’s intention of opening a diplomatic post in Barbados.

She fancies Alf’s chances of being rewarded for his years of service to the National Party by being landed with the job of High Commissioner.

She has phoned Mrs Key – with whom she has more than a nodding acquaintance – to ask for the right words to be whispered into The Boss’s ear.

Alf is not so sure it’s a good idea. He isn’t quite ready to take the next step towards being put out to pasture, as Lockwood Smith was when he landed the London post earlier this year.

Read the rest of this entry »


The thousands due at Parekura’s funeral attest to Labour’s lost leadership opportunity

May 4, 2013

Parekura Horomia has shown us what a giant among men he was.

It’s just that some people perhaps didn’t realise it – certainly not the Labour Party, which has struggled to find a leader agreeable to the rest of the country while overlooking the obvious candidate in its ranks.

The esteem in which Parekura was held is amply demonstrated by the fact half the country – and maybe more – have upped and gone to the rather remote East Coast community of Tolaga Bay to pay their respects.

Read the rest of this entry »


Whatever happened to Cunliffe? Thanks to a TV3 list of Labour losers, we can tell you…

February 25, 2013

The Herald’s John Armstrong was probably in a bit of a rush to get his story posted, and hence missed out the bit that Alf was looking for.

Where did Cunliffe finish up after the Labour rabble’s front-bench reshuffle?

The Herald report (here) affirmed that Alf won a small wager in the Eketahuna Club.

He had backed Annette King to get the health job.

And sure enough –

Read the rest of this entry »


We Nats should drink to Labour having confidence in David Shearer for many more years

February 4, 2013
They don't have a prayer, even if they did gather here...

They don’t have a prayer, even if they did gather here…

...rather than fortify their spirits here.

…rather than fortify their spirits here.

We’ll be sinking a few celebratory drinks in the Eketahuna Club tonight.

This follows the confidence vote by Labour’s MPs to endorse the leadership of David Shearer.

Just how much confidence was represented by the vote is a bit of a mystery, because according to the account which reached Alf at his electorate office (see here), Labour will not release the results.

But we do know that –

Under new party rules, the leader must get at least 60 percent of support from caucus or it triggers a contest on which the party’s membership and affiliates can vote.

We are further told that –

Read the rest of this entry »


Is there a doctor in the house? Someone may need one after Labour’s leadership vote

November 20, 2012

Dunno what’s going on in the Labour caucus room right now, but Alf has taken the liberty of alerting a doctor.

He has taken this precaution because there’s a fair chance someone will finish up losing their job.

Alf’s money is on this somebody not being David Shearer, the party’s leader.

His turn will come next year.

More likely today – if it happens to anyone – it will be David Cunliffe.

And if he loses his job as the party’s economic development spokesman…

Well, who knows?

But having a doctor handy could be useful.

Read the rest of this entry »