Finny on Fletcher

Charles Finny has responded to  Kiwiblog post  The Campbell Live Dotcom conspiracy episode with this comment:

Thank you for writing this piece David. The programme really got my blood boiling last night.

I am surprised that this multi-year research project did not throw up some other useful facts.

How about the fact that Ian Fletcher had signalled his willingness to return to NZ somewhat before the GCSB role came up. I think that you will find that he was interested in replacing Simon Murdoch as MFAT CEO and that he did rather well in that selection process. In the end John Allen came through, but the facts that Ian Fletcher was interested in a return, and that he was an obviously very strong candidate for a senior leadership role in the NZ public service were very much front of mind for people like Murdoch, Wevers, the State Services Commissioner, and externally focused Ministers. That he was thought of when GCSB came up is no surprise. It seemed totally logical. No conspiracy here whatsoever.

I am sure the fact that he had held a Top Secret security clearance in NZ and the UK for many years would have been helpful. That he had done a series of high profile jobs well in the UK, EU and Australia would likewise have been a factor.

The impression I had at the time was that a number of senior public servants were delighted that someone as good as Ian could be attracted back. The view seemed to be – let’s try him at GCSB and see where his career might lead.

I see nothing sinister in the GCSB Director being from a non-military background. GCSB began life as part of the military establishment, but the role has changed substantially. A non-military Director is all part of the growing up process. Ian’s background is perfect for the first non-military Director. He began professional life working with Foreign Affairs, serving one offshore posting. He then moved to DTI in the UK where he did a number of roles, most of which were external in focus. He was seconded into the EU’s DG Trade and again there did a core trade policy job. His background is perfect. There is no conspiracy.

Yes, Ian’s brother (who I also worked with for a few years in Wellington at DTI) was at school with John Key, and yes, John may have met Ian a few times as a result – both as a school kid, and adult. But so what?

2 Comments

  1. Hollowman

     /  May 23, 2014

    Ian Fletcher is a childhood friend of John Key.
    John Key bypassed all the others from NZ, on the shortlist and appointed Ian Fletcher directly, because Ian Fletcher would likely not have been picked if he had simply been put on the shortlist. Scrapping the shortlist scrapped any competition.

    • No, Ian Fletcher isn’t a childhood friend of John Key. Key was friends with his brother.