Groser ‘will not seek extension’ in Washington

Ex National MP and Foreign Minister Tim Groser was appointed as New Zealand’s ambassador in Washington in 2016, but he will be replaced next year.

Stuff:  NZ Ambassador to Trump’s Washington recalled

NZ’s ambassador to Washington DC is being pulled from the post, as the government begins a clean-out of less favoured diplomats.

Tim Groser will stay in the US until the end of the year, long enough to welcome Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and baby Neve to the UN General Assembly in New York in September.

Groser, a former trade minister criticised for his enjoyment of the good life at public expense, took up the Washington posting in 2016. Now, one source describes the Embassy, under his administration, as a “party palace”.

That is quite a diss of Groser. I wonder who the “one source” is. It could be fair criticism, but it sounds a bit like they are dumping on Groser to justify dumping him.

Sources indicated a new ambassador had already been selected from within the ranks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was merely awaiting official sign-off.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has made clear his disdain for political appointments to key foreign postings, calling out a “mainly white brorocracy.”

“Winston Peters is not enamoured with political appointments and has singled out Groser’s appointment as the reason why,” said one source. “His performance has been underwhelming. Winston has been sensitive about lopping people’s heads off, but Groser had a target on his back.”

‘One source’ again.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Groser’s term was up. “New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Hon Tim Groser will be leaving his position at the conclusion of his three-year appointment,” he said.

“The process to appoint a successor is underway and an announcement will be made in due course, as with all New Zealand Heads of Mission appointments.”

Now it’s a ‘spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ – career public servants tend to not like having ex politicians appointed to plum positions they may see as part of career paths they feel they have earned.

Peters didn’t like Groser being appointed to Washington, and the implication from this report is that he has significant say on “a clean-out of less favoured diplomats”.

Stuff (May 2016): Has Winston Peters scuppered David Carter’s chances of London High Commissioner post?

Behind-the-scenes jostling between National and NZ First may have dashed Speaker David Carter’s chances of a plum diplomatic post to London.

But it is understood NZ First is demanding that if in a position to get National across the line for a fourth term, then it would want Carter hauled back from the London posting should he have already gained it.

Carter didn’t get the job,. Jerry Mateparae was appointed New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

ODT (August 2016): Diplomatic posting for Williamson

Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced Williamson will be the Consul General in Los Angeles after Williamson announced in July he was not standing again in 2017.

Williamson, who has been an MP since 1987, follows in a long line of politicians appointed to diplomatic postings.

In recent years that has included former Speaker Sir Lockwood Smith to London, former Trade Minister Tim Groser to Washington and former Labour MP Shane Jones as a newly created Pacific Economic Ambassador.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has criticised the suitability of some appointments as a “broracracy” saying he would demand some were recalled if he was part of the Government after 2017.

Peters in April 2017: National looking after their mates – Winston Peters

Jobs for mates is a hallmark of the National government.

The latest to parachute into a sweet public position is former National MP Simon Upton.

But the person appointed to this role should be politically independent. Disappointingly neither the Labour Party nor the Greens adhered to this in backing the appointment of Mr Upton.

So it isn’t surprising that Groser is being recalled as Peters cleans out political appointments.

Except, here’s quite a different take on it:

New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States Tim Groser himself asked to leave the position at the end of his three-year term, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has confirmed.

“Any suggestion he has been recalled by the minister or ministry is baseless,” Peters said in a statement.

“The New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, Hon Tim Groser, is leaving his position later this year at the expiry of his three-year term.

“He was appointed by the previous government and his contract was only ever for three years.

“Mr Groser himself asked to finish at the conclusion of his three-year term and did not seek any extension.”

Trade Minister David Parker also rubbished suggestions the failure to gain an exemption from tariffs was behind the end of Groser’s term.

“It’s not because of under-performance on trade. I can confirm that’s not the case because I’d know about that because I’m Trade Minister.

So the Stuff story was stuffed up.

Interesting then that Peters seems not to be on a mission to cancel all political appointments given past opposition to them.


  1. Blazer

     /  5th August 2018

    NZ has spent a small fortune promoting Groser as some sort of negotiater extrordinaire.
    Only trouble is ,it was his own ego and his own self promotion that cultivated that image….it was never reflected in performance.

    I’d go with Winston’s intuition on these appointments.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th August 2018

      Winston’s turnover rivals Trump’s.

  2. David

     /  5th August 2018

    Grosser is probably relieved perhaps he called it quits and Peters is playing politics. Imagine the god awful job of representing Ardern in the US, she has a habit of insulting foreign leaders who dont share her politics but we need for NZs interests and is blown over by 2 of the most overrated leaders of modern history, Merkel and Trudeau who are irrelevant.

  3. chrism56

     /  5th August 2018

    Groser was appointed in December 2015, taking it up in 2016. Appointments, especially political ones, are generally a three year term. When will his term end “prematurely”? 2019. Is this fake news?

    • Blazer

       /  5th August 2018

      how good is this guy!..

      ‘Critically, Groser failed to win New Zealand (once described as a “very, very, very good friend” of the US) an exemption from harsh new steel tariffs. That is threatening to cripple NZ’s steel industry…..

      …..Earlier this year, New Zealand was not in the list of countries exempt from paying a tariff on steel, but Australia was – one reason cited as contributing to Groser’s early return home….

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th August 2018

        Had nothing to do with our Dear Leader insulting Trump then?

      • chrism56

         /  5th August 2018

        The ambassador is a political appointment, like the High Commissioners to London and Canberra. If the government of NZ alienates the USA (remember Ardern’s comments about Trump) what can an ambassador, who represents the country, do to negate that? The steel tariffs was more a failing of the Minister of Foreign Affairs than the ambassador. Actually, as the Prime Minister got directly involved, is it not here failing ,

      • David

         /  5th August 2018

        Seriously Blazer your woman called Trump less orange than expected, she is useless at foreign policy and foreign relations and the irony is that after Clark the left were worried about Key who turned out to be our best global diplomat yet not a peep at the ineptness of Ardern.

        • Blazer

           /  5th August 2018

          Key was a U.S sock tucker who loved ‘everything about America’.

          • Gezza

             /  5th August 2018

            Tru dat. And the ockers even gave him a US$2 gong for rolling over & getting his tummy tickled whenever requested as well.

            • Gezza

               /  5th August 2018

              PDB – that better not be a downtick from you 😡

    • chrism56

       /  5th August 2018

      James Sorensen is right about that PG, as well as Hamish. It is all about Winston’s grudge, and the media repeated it without doing any investigation. This is a prime example of the type of thing that has caused so many people to lose confidence in the reporters.

  4. Blazer

     /  5th August 2018

    what has Groser ever done that was a good deal for NZ?

    I’m picking =0.

  5. Quite a different take on it:

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th August 2018

      Fake News from Vance?

    • Blazer

       /  5th August 2018

      the ‘ratcatcher’ is at least smart enough to read the writing on the ..wall.Hopeless ,priveleged,non performer.

      • PDB

         /  5th August 2018

        “Hopeless ,priveleged,non performer.”

        I agree – you describe Ardern well and who would want to represent such a person on the International stage?