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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Exit, stooge left

Dame Ann Hercus, former Labour Party cabinet minister, resigned as TVNZ board member tonight.

Her resignation is nothing to do with leaking information to the media... nothing at all. It's a total coincidence that the management and board have a melt-down, things get leaked to the media and/or Maharey (TVNZ minister), the CEO is so undermined that they have to resign take 6 months garden leave before retiring, and it all comes out at the parliamentary committee this afternoon - it's all a totally unrelated coincidence apparently.

These are the sort of dodgy antics that happen when the governing party attempt to stack every board with their own lackies. I would tentatively put Ian Fraser in that category too, with Bill Ralston being his proxy lacky with his day yet to come. There are more hacks in the top echelons of TVNZ than a TB ward. With everyone thinking they sit on the immediate right hand side of God they all behave as though they have sole charge of the shop, throw little tanties when they don't get their own way, and then blame everyone else for the failure. If it's not Ross Armstrong wearing out the corporate credit card it's Hercus et al. trying to cut them all in half despite peoples' fingers still being grasped around them.

The squabbling is unseemly and stems from mishandling by Ralston and Fraser and pressure from the government on the board. Add the public service/nz content "Charter" as the giant whale the board has climbed on top of in the room - that management pretends isn't there - and you have a recipe for friction.

It's a mess. Political appointments to any board must be stopped. Not stopped because they will always end in a mess (they won't necessarily), but stopped because the practice is basically corrupt. It's called patronage and it stinks to high heaven. Merit only ought to be the measure. The problem is the Nats use it too and they won't stop it either (remember the Lotteries Commission after 9 years of National - with even Jim Bolger's old secretary on it! The whole board being Tory plants - going to junkets in Scandanavia with their spouses for fuck sakes). An Abolition of Political Patronage Bill? Haha ahhh - as if.


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