Cunliffe's CV: taking the padding a step further
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) : It is a pleasure to take a call on the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill and to recognise that it is probably one of the most important economic bills to come before this Parliament in some time. If this Parliament fails to exercise the due diligence and good judgment that is tasked of us on this matter, the effects will be felt for generations.
I am a former diplomat who has represented the New Zealand dairy industry overseas in many markets and on many occasions, and I was also a management consultant tasked with advising on the formation of Fonterra from Kiwi Cooperative Dairies and the New Zealand Dairy Group.
I wasn’t planning to blog on this issue again, but this quote from Hansard is a bit different from what we previously knew for two reasons. The first is that a claim in Hansard can be challenged via a Privileges Complaint. I’m not saying this is likely – just that you expect less padding of claims in Hansard than you might in a CV.
But the more relevant aspect is that the claim is much more specific than the CV claim. There is no doubt Cunliffe did work primarily in 1997 on dairy restructuring issues. The claim this was “helping with the formation of Fonterra” is debatable. I call it padding, which I think is a fair description.
But the claim in Hansard is more explicit. It is claiming he directly advised on the actual merger between Kiwi and NZ Dairy. Now that is much much harder to reconcile with the facts. The BCG client was NZ Dairy Board, not KCD or NZDG and the actual merger discussions were in 2000/2001 not 1997.
A general claim that your work in 1997 helped with the formation of Fonterra is plausible. An explcit claim that you advised on the actual formation between KCD and NZDG is far less plausible.
Put it like this. What would the average person take from a claim that you advised on the formation of Fonterra from KCD and NZDG? Would it be you did some research four years earlier for the NZ Dairy Board, or that you were an active player in the room helping make the merger happen? My assumption, before this all flared up, was someone actually pretty much in the room playing a pretty key role. That is the impression we were meant to get.
Politicial commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.