Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Kiri Allan and her Claytons apology

Justice Minister Kiri Allan has made a public apology for comments made at an RNZ farewell function in honour of her fiancée, Mani Dunlop.

RNZ reports that Allan criticised RNZ’s treatment of Maori journalists and “urged the public broadcaster to have a look at its culture”. This came after Dunlop, a Maori, was passed over for the position of co-host on Morning Report - a job she had obviously pinned her hopes on. Allan's comments will inevitably be seen as a rebuke to RNZ for not promoting her partner.

She reportedly prefaced her remarks by saying she wasn’t speaking as a minister. In her apology yesterday she said she attended the function as Dunlop’s partner and was speaking on behalf of Dunlop’s family, but she accepted her comments could be interpreted as telling RNZ how to manage its affairs.

Oh, come on. Allan is a senior minister. She has been in Parliament since 2017. She knows the rules. She knows that her actions as a private individual and as a minister are not easily separated. In fact she admits there is no delineation in terms of public perception. That’s why there’s a cabinet manual advising ministers how to conduct themselves.

I think Allan understood perfectly well what she was doing, and moreover that she knows that what she said at the function can’t be unsaid by going through the motions of a ritual apology.

She would have known her words would register with RNZ, which has a crucial interest in maintaining good relations with the government. It may or may not be significant that RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson subsequently made a conciliatory statement liberally laced with te reo Maori. It looked ingratiating.

The matter was seen as serious enough for Chris Hipkins to weigh in with a statement accepting Allan’s apology but adding that it would have been better had she not accepted the opportunity to speak. It was the lightest of raps over the knuckles for an action that could be interpreted as ministerial interference in the affairs of an organisation that's supposed to be statutorily independent.

Allan's comments and subsequent Claytons retraction will have done nothing to ease public concerns about uncomfortably close relationships within the Wellington Beltway and their potential to compromise government integrity.

Neither will anyone be reassured by the fact that RNZ took several days to report the story. We can only conclude RNZ decided its interests were better served by keeping Allan’s interference quiet.






Gary Peters said...

Another example whereby someone identifies "haters".

It seems if you don't fully subscribe to the current labour caucus thought you will be attacked with impunity. They hace 6 more months to destroy and it looks like they're going to use it well.

God Save New Zealand.

Nick Theobald said...

Good on you Karl for being a lone voice highlighting RNZ dragging the chain in reporting this story.
This mini saga is just another carriage on the Woke Express, on its way to our version of Gilead.