Things to do in Dipton when you’re dead

Well, I suppose you could resurect yourself.

As Sir Roger Douglas has done, claiming $44,000 in expenses for an overseas holiday as his “entitlement”.

Oh, and as Don Brash and Christine Rankin have resurrected themselves.

And, yes, when Sir Double Dipton finally “retires” (and it might be sooner rather than later, given his accommodation expenses rort) he too will be eligible for 90% of his overseas travel costs being met by the taxpayer. Forever!

Sir Double Dipton says:

But the minister says Dipton remains his home and he intends to return there when he leaves Parliament.

Better get the house in order, then Bill. Including evicting the current tenants, which you need only 42 days to do under the appalling lack of residential tenure provided by the Residential Tenancies Act.

It might be sooner, rather than later, so better get moving on it Bill.

Cancel my subscription to the resurrection

rankin_dancing brash_burns

Roger Douglas back in Parliament!

Christine Rankin appointed to the Families Commission!

Don Brash to head the Productivity Commission!

How many more of the 1990s failed has-beens can they dredge up and resurrect? Maybe Jenny Shipley, to head a taskforce on welfare reform. Or Max Bradford, to shape our energy policy?

These are the people who stuffed it up in the first place because they were driven by an unsustainable ideology that is reliant on the flawed concept of unlimited economic growth and/or because they were in the pockets of the wealthy and didn’t care about the poor. Anyone for the “trickle down” effect?

Don, et al, can’t you understand that we live in a finite world determined by finite natural resources, and if we pretend to do otherwise, we are just loading debt onto the generations that follow us.

Marty G at The Standard gave us this wonderful graph this morning:

wealth-gap-aus-vs-nz

It was under the neo-liberal policies of the Labour and National led Governments in the late 80’s and early 90’s that we fell so far behind Australia economically. 17% behind in 1985, but up to 32% behind in 1993.

From which we have never recovered. And now they have the cheek to try to persuade us to go for Rogernomics/Ruthenasia Round 2.

Cancel my subscription to the neoliberal resurrection. I had a gutsful (as Norman Kirk famously said) last time round.

Honest Bob McCoskrie

Two stories.

This one (Sun, 21 Jun 2009 9:01p.m):

Bob McCoskrie, director of Family First NZ which is leading the “vote no” campaign, said Ms Rankin had not expressed any concerns about being involved.

“She’s got freedom to speak out on it,” he told NZPA.

And this one (Mon, 22 Jun 2009 5:16a.m.):

Family First director Bob McCoskrie had advised earlier this evening that Ms Rankin would be the Family and Child Trust (Fact) representative at the launch but that was later changed to Bev Adair.

Ms Rankin had told the minister that Mr McCoskrie had made a mistake, and Ms Bennett was satisfied with that explanation, the spokeswoman said.

Mr McCoskrie told NZPA Ms Rankin was “part of Fact but Bev is the spokesperson on it”.

“So it was just my error. I should have put Bev’s name, not Christine’s name.”

Now come on Bob, you may expect people to believe there are all these instances of good parents being prosecuted for smacking their kids that you can’t or won’t front any evidence to support, but surely you don’t expect us to believe that.

How would you have been able to say Rankin had not expressed any concerns about being involved and that she had the freedom to speak out if it was just all a mistake involving you getting the name wrong?

Phone running hot last night perchance?

Rank indeed, but could have been ranker

I was somewhat surprised last week to read Simon Collins’ report in the NZ Herald last Wednesday where he stated, in relation to the Children’s Commissioner appointment:

Dr Angus, 60, a former top bureaucrat at the Ministry of Social Development, has been given the commissioner’s job for six months after anti-child abuse campaigner Christine Rankin turned down the job because she didn’t want to move to Wellington.

I’d not heard or read anything about Rankin being considered as Children’s Commissioner. Then later in the day I saw Sue Bradford had blogged a little more about this, quoting Rankin the Dominion Post of 12 May.

So I went looking for the hard copy, since Sue had blogged that it wasn’t available on-line. And there it was, Dominion Post, 12 May 2009, Page 3.

Rankin declines new job approach

Former Work and Income boss Christine Rankin has confirmed she was approached for a job as children’s commissioner, despite her public opposition to a smacking law.

Ms Rankin is tipped for a role on the Families Commission when the Government announces its new board this week.

She said yesterday there were a lot of rumours around and she could not comment. “I was talked to about (the children’s commissioner job) but I have not applied for that role.

“I have a really successful business in Auckland that I love and I don’t really want to live in Wellington.”

Now that raises some interesting questions. National didn’t appoint Rankin to the Families Commission upon her application – they were actively seeking roles for her, and appear to have wanted to appoint her Children’s Commissioner. I just can’t understand why, given that she played no small part in the demise of the last National-led Government.

This smells fishy. Just what do National owe Christine Rankin so much for that they were so desperate to find a senior appointment for her?

Rank indeed

I’ve blogged before about Christine Rankin’s unsuitability as a Families Commissioner – on the basis of her past performance as WINZ chief executive.

Last weekend I was at the Green Party AGM in Dunedin, and didn’t get to see the Herald on Sunday until I got back to Auckland – only to find this:

Christine Rankin has the worst attendance record among elected members of Greater Auckland’s major councils.

The North Shore resident and newly appointed Families Commissioner skipped almost half the council and committee meetings to which she was invited since the local body elections in October 2007.

The attendance records of the 84 members of the Auckland, Manukau, North Shore and Waitakere City Councils and Auckland Regional Council varied widely.

Rankin attended just 51 per cent of the 100-plus meetings to which she was invited…

That’s an appalling attendance record. Who knows where it will end up now she has the added “responsibilities” of being a Families Commissioner.

Unfortunately, it is the antics of the likes of Rankin in Auckland local government who have given Rodney Hide the excuse to launch Grand Theft Auckland.

Hat tip: greenfly (for the blog post title)

It’s a family affair

I’ve always maintained that Christine Rankin’s record of mismanagement, extravagance and self-agrandisement when Work and Income Chief Executive should alone have been sufficient for the Government to consider her unsuitable as a Families Commissioner.

But yesterday new revelations emerged in Parliament that cast further doubt on Rankin’s suitability for the appointment. They relate to Rankin’s appearance on the television programme Dancing with the Stars, and her nominated charity, the For the Sake of our Children Trust, that received the money from text messages supporting Rankin on the programme.

Ms Dyson went on to raise Ms Rankin’s appearance on TV One’s Dancing with the Stars programme.

She said Ms Rankin’s chosen charity for donations from viewers was a trust called For the Sake of our Children.

“The people who texted `Christine’ to Dancing with the Stars were donating to an organisation that employed two people and did no research, no service delivery, but only did advocacy,” Ms Dyson said.

“And the two people employed by For the Sake of our Children were Christine Rankin and her son.

Regardless of Christine Rankin’s qualifications to make policy recommendations to support families, it appears she’s pretty good at ensuring she looks after her own.

Melissing in Action – again!

Just picked up this media release from Russel Norman:

The people of Mt Albert deserve a political leader who is prepared to publicly debate the electorate’s issues, so Melissa Lee should engage at tonight’s community meeting on SuperCity proposals, Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

“I call on Melissa Lee to front up and debate the issues. Preparing a statement for someone else to read out just isn’t going to cut it. The people of Mt Albert need a representative who is willing to engage in public debate.

“The fact that Melissa isn’t debating at Owairaka District School tonight suggests that National is not serious about contesting the Mt Albert by-election.”

I guess that after the debacle over the SH16 motorway stopping South Auckland’s criminals from burgling in Mount Albert, Melissa’s minders must be worried that “in the heat of the moment” she might reveal Christine Rankin as her preferred nominee to chair the Auckland Transition Authority.

Still, a very poor look that Melissa won’t front.

UPDATE: It just gets worse and worse for poor Melissa:

Starts off almost okay for her, but the second half is where it all totally falls apart. It’s just gotta be a race between Russel Norman & David Shearer now. Not even the most biased Nat supported could surely vote for someone this incompetent.

I think her best quote was “I’m all over the place”, which was probably the one thing she said in her interview we can rely on.

On Rankin’s watch

How could Social Development Minister Paula Bennett be so stupid as to appoint Christine Rankin as a Families Commissioner? For those who have forgotten, and I can only assume Bennett must have, here’s a brief summary of events under Rankin’s tumultuous reign as Chief Executive of the Department of Work and Income.

October 1998 — Department of Work and Income (WINZ) established and Christine Rankin appointed Chief Executive.

November 1998 — State Services Commission lists concerns about Rankin’s leadership style.

WINZ staff exposed for selling beneficiaries’ private information to debt collectors and “repo men”.

December 1998 to Feb 1999 — State Services Commission conducts a review into security at WINZ.

February 1999 — Rubbish sacks of confidential WINZ documents found dumped on roadside in Waikato. A second security review commenced.

February -Apri1 1999 — WINZ bungles student allowances as students wait for months to be paid.

March 1999 — Rankin told off by State Services Commissioner after “attacking” Green MP Rod Donald through the media.

Education Review Office chief Judith Aitken writes to State Services Commissioner complaining about Rankin’s “inappropriate behaviour”.

April 1999 — Criticisms made of big spending in WINZ on corporate advertisements and uniforms.

July 1999 — News of the WINZ Wairakei training conference breaks – $235,206 spent by WINZ on a training course for 107 staff, including charter flights to get them to and from the conference. Another review of WINZ is started, this time by the Auditor-General.

October 1999 — Auditor-general’s report into the Wairakei affair released. Rankin issued with a “formal warning” by State Services Commissioner.

November 1999 — Performance review states Rankin has an “innovative and unorthodox style” but poses a risk of criticism of the department.

Revelations emerge that Work and Income staff concocted a story to secretly pay more than $100,000 to get rid of a senior executive.

December 1999 — State Services Commissioner asked by the new Labour Government about the possibility of sacking Rankin. He says there are not yet grounds to.

January -February 2000 — Management problems in WINZ with student loans show “no lessons learned” from the allowances bungle.

January 2000 — Revelations that Rankin had sacked an executive over the Wairakei affair and was paying $100,000 plus in a settlement.

May 2000 — The Hunn inquiry is damning of departmental practices at WINZ.

Rankin told she would probably not be reappointed. More legal inquiries over whether she could be sacked.

November 2000 — Rankin formally told her contract would not be renewed.

March 2001 — Rankin writes to Sue Bradford MP threatening legal action without telling Social Services Minister Steve Maharey.

April 2001 — Rankin told about WINZ being merged with the Minister of Social Policy. She writes to Wintringham requesting her performance during 2000-2001 be reviewed. She threatens to sue.

June 2001 — Employment Court hearing in which Rankin alleges unjustified dismissal begins. Rankin loses.

EDIT: I published this before the Herald on Sundayexpose” on Rankin’s private life. I don’t actually support that sort of attack dragging people’s personal lives into their public persona. My criticism of her appointment is based entirely on her past record of extravagance, self-agrandisement, and mismanagement. Her subsequent appearance on Sunday as the “poor maligned star” who read out a prepared statement but refused to answer any questions tends to reinforce my opinion that this leopard cannot change its spots.

I’d be interested to know if it were Sunday or Rankin herself who solicited that “interview”.