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Judith Collins accused of cronyism

Tuesday 16 Apr 2013 3:54 p.m.

Justice Minister Judith Collins is being accused of cronyism for appointing National MP Jackie Blue as the next Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

Opposition parties and the Council of Trade Unions are criticising the appointment, saying Ms Blue has supported legislation that disadvantages women.

"It's yet another example of cronyism from the Government," said Labour MP Sue Moroney.

"Hard on the heels of Dame Susan Devoy's appointment as Race Relations Commissioner, the Government is fast turning the Human Rights Commission into a recruitment agency for its supporters."

Both positions are part of the Human Rights Commission.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says cronyism is a legitimate description of Ms Blue's appointment.

"It's very unusual for a sitting MP to be appointed to a position like this," she told reporters.

"Jackie Blue has voted for legislation that has harmed women... she needs to explain how she is going to undo the harm."

Ms Turei says retiring commissioner Judy McGregor has been a fierce advocate for women "and Jackie Blue has very big shoes to fill".

Ms Collins rejected the criticism.

"She applied for the job, she was treated the same as everyone else and she was interviewed by a panel," she said.

"The panel said she was an outstanding candidate, head and shoulders above everyone else."

Ms Collins said complaints of cronyism were "just stupid".

She acknowledged it was unusual to appoint a sitting MP to the position.

"I checked with the State Services Commission to make sure we were doing everything right."

NZN

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