Last month National appointed former MP Tony Ryall as chair of the board of Transpower. It's a nice little retirement package for Ryall - he gets $98,000 a year from the taxpayer. And from documents released under the OIA today, it was pure cronyism: Ryall was appointed against explicit Treasury advice to retain the incumbent:
They go on:
In a section on "succession planning" they note that
With five relatively new directors on the Board it is important to manage succession carefully to ensure sufficient institutional knowledge exists on the Board, especially at a time when the company is in a transofrmative phase of its culture and business.
They recommended that Verbiest be retained as chair, and Ryall appointed as his deputy. They also recommended that "should you decide to retire Mr Verbiest" Ryall be appointed chair (clearly they could see which way the wind was blowing). The Minister, Todd McClay, chose the latter option.
If there's any future governance problems caused by Transpower's inexperienced board, we know who to blame. It would be nice if National treated SOE boards as something other than retirement sinecures for washed-up ex-MPs...