Annette King appointed High Commissioner to Australia

This is a predicted and I think widely applauded diplomatic appointment.

Beehive: New High Commissioner to Australia announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Dame Annette King as High Commissioner to Australia.

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters.

“As High Commissioner Dame Annette will be working on one of New Zealand’s most significant relationships. The Trans-Tasman bond is exceptionally strong however the relationship is not something we take for granted, and the new High Commissioner will be tasked with keeping the connections strong,” he said.

“The new appointment is notable because Dame Annette is a former MP on a diplomatic posting. In this sense she is an exception. Of the 25 Head of Mission appointments announced this year all have been career diplomats.”

Dame Annette is expected to start her High Commissioner duties at the end of the year.

She should do a good job diplomatically connecting New Zealand to Australia.

There is a funny side to this, as Peters has blasted the appointing of ex-politicians to diplomatic posts.

In 2016 (NZ Herald):  Winston Peters takes swipe at ‘brorocracy’ of diplomatic appointments

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has promised to order “unsuitable” political appointees to return home from diplomatic posts if the party holds the balance of power next year.

In a speech to students at Victoria University today, Mr Peters attacked the “brorocracy” of recent diplomatic appointments.

“As an example of how meritocracy has been abandoned in favour of a mainly white brorocracy look no further than how some of our high commissioners and ambassadors are being appointed.

“This is not to say that some of the people we have sent offshore haven’t been the best choice, or not done excellent service, but some have not been the wisest choice.

“Many have represented an insult to foreign affairs, leaving their posts with absolutely nothing to show, but deterioration in our international relationship with that country.”

Mr Peters went on to say that a political appointee should be “the absolute exception”, and if any future appointments were made that the party regards as unsuitable, it would order that appointee home should it hold the balance of power after next year’s election.

I guess he can say that Annette King is an absolute exception. And she is not a bro.

She may well be as New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Australia.


Mateparae to be High Commissioner?

Current Governor General Jerry Mateparae is tipped to be appointed as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner in London, replacing Lockwood Smith.

Barry Soper at Newstalk ZB:

Exclusive: Sir Jerry Mateparae expected to be named as next High Commissioner to London

The Government is expected to appoint the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae as our next High Commissioner to London.

Newstalk ZB understands talks have been held with Sir Jerry about the job and he’s expressed an interest.

That’s fairly non-definitive language but presumably Soper has a good source for naming Mateparae for the role.

Sir Jerry was a popular choice from across the political spectrum when he was announced as Governor-General back in 2011.

The 61-year-old has expressed an interest in doing something after leaving Government House in August after a five-year term, and John Key says this is an opportunity to take the London role out of the political arena where incumbents have been drawn from in the past.

The current incumbent, former speaker Sir Lockwood Smith’s term finishes in London later this year.

Did Winston Peters know about this? If so his swipe at David Carter over the role could be seen as somewhat devious.

The timing of this leak is likely to have been prompted by Peters’ grandstanding.

WS v KB on Carter and London

Two curiously contrasting posts about whether David Carter was aiming for London and the High Commissioner’s job.

Stuff reported yesterday: Next London High Commissioner ‘not a politician’, says Government

…Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully confirmed a decision was close to being made.

“There are about 20 Head of Mission positions that are being filled at the moment, London is one of those.

“And we’re well down the track towards making those appointments. I can tell you that Mr Carter’s name has not featured anywhere in that list, including in relation to London,” he said.

“We have somebody in prospect for London, it’s not a member of Parliament.”

So an outright denial from McCully that Carter had featured in considerations and that the person they had lined up wasn’t a politician.

Carter was also quoted:

Carter said: “Despite persistent media speculation, it has never been my interest or intention to become New Zealand’s High Commissioner in London.”

But a post at Whale Oil under Cameron Slater’s name claimed David Carter is telling porkies:

Oh come on now. Even the Press Gallery know the veracity of this situation. Lockwood Smith’s tenure in the UK is under a cloud and is being carefully stage managed.

National have been going around offering all sorts of jobs to all sorts of people. I suspect Judith Collins was offered a “dignified” way out, and Maurice Williamson said “no” to life-after-being-an-MP as well. The ambassadorships to the US and the UK have been on offer since last year.

And Carter wants the one in London. He’s been provisionally told he’s got it.

It’s no coincidence that Winston has been winding Carter up and putting more and more pressure on.

Despite the claim that contradicted news reports that didn’t seem to raise much interest, it only attracted one comment.

Then this morning on Kiwiblog David Farrar posted Carter rules out London.

This quotes from NZH the same denial that Carter was in the reckoning, and Farrar adds:

Anyone who knows David Carter knows that he was not wanting to be the High Commissioner to the UK.

So that totally contradicts Slater’s assertions.

Farrar also quotes NZH…

In a speech to students at Victoria University yesterday, Mr Peters attacked the “brorocracy” of recent diplomatic appointments.

“As an example of how meritocracy has been abandoned in favour of a mainly white brorocracy look no further than how some of our high commissioners and ambassadors are being appointed.

…and comments:

The hypocrisy is high with this one.

Winston is the guy who lobbied Helen Clark insistently to make Owen Glenn the Honorary Consul to Monaco, after Glenn paid off his legal bills for him.

Hypocrisy and Peters are not strangers.

Political blackmail on diplomatic postings?

Winston Peters has said he will block any diplomatic appointments that he deems to be political.

Is this through genuine concern about political appointments?

Or is it Peters playing politics as a part of his ongoing clash with Speaker David Carter, who has been suggested as a possible appointment of High Commissioner to London.

It is claimed that Peters has given an ultimatum to National that if he holds the balance of power after next year’s election he will block any diplomatic appointments he doesn’t like.

That sounds like political blackmail.

Stuff reports: Has Winston Peters scuppered David Carter’s chances of London High Commissioner post?

In a speech to students at Victoria University, Peters announced the party would block any “unsuitable” political appointees and require them to return home if it held the balance of power in government.

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

Carter has long been thought the frontrunner to replace current High Commissioner to Britain Sir Lockwood Smith when his term ends early next year.

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.

That would make it difficult for the Government to award him the posting in the first place.

Under current support levels National could potentially get backing for any appointments from Labour or the Greens.

But it sounds like Peters could go as far as make his approval of diplomatic appointments a condition of any coalition deal.

After the speech, Peters denied his remarks should be seen as an attack on Carter.

“Oh look ,we don’t personalise these things, I’m just saying that we’re not going to tolerate these sort of disgraceful appointments when they don’t merit it.”

He was not opposed to all political appointments, saying former Labour prime minister Mike Moore’s selection as United States ambassador was a “brilliant idea” but Wallace Rowling’s appointment to the same position in 1985 – after the flare-up over NZ’s nuclear weapons stance – was wrong.

“Now there’s two contrasting examples where people could be merited or the timing would merit things.”

This sounds like Peters wants to decide any diplomatic appointments. That’s dangerous tail wagging dog territory.

However, Prime Minister John Key said Peters’ claims about too many political appointments to diplomatic roles were “a load of nonsense”.

“I mean, of the 60-odd high commissions or embassies around the world, we have three or four that have been politically appointed in recent times.”

Which makes it sound like it could be a vendetta against Carter and that Peters would make a coalition agreement subject to his personal animosity against potentially one person.

Which party would want to negotiate a Governing arrangement on this basis?

Sources within the diplomatic community said NZ First had delivered the ultimatum, which could put the Government in a difficult position.

That’s if National didn’t just tell Peters to take a hike with his demands. Would they crumble to him?

Sources close to National had confirmed they had heard rumours of the bargaining, but asked last week, NZ First sources denied hearing of any such negotiations.

NZ First (and Peters in particular) vehemently deny any attempt to make pre-election agreements about possible coalition deals.

The only thing worse than Peters demanding the deciding vote on any diplomatic appointment and making any coalition deal subject to this would be National caving in to his petty political blackmail.