Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search - 15 August 2008 - 15 August 2008

A Weekly Report from the Keyboard of Murray McCully MP for East Coast Bays


Before any of the many persons who might have reason to feel they have been defamed in previous editions of this newsletter are misled by the above headline into believing this might be the formal apology they are due, we must make it clear: today’s apology is driven not by the exertions of defamation lawyers, rather by indifferent communications capacity. The National Party spokesman on Foreign Affairs is traveling somewhere foreign, and so an apology is due for the fact that limited communications capacity, mixed with serious technophobia on the part of the aforesaid Foreign Affairs spokesman, has conspired to make the regular newsletter impossibility this week.

Brian Donnelly Retires

A brief word, however, on the sad news that poor health has caused New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Brian Donnelly, to prematurely retire from the post. When it was announced that Donnelly would depart from the New Zealand Parliament where he was a New Zealand First MP, to take up the Rarotonga post, there was a ritual flick in the direction of his boss, Winston Peters, who had so ostentatiously asserted that NZ First would eschew the baubles of office. But there was no criticism of the specific appointment. Donnelly was a good Member of Parliament, and one of nature's gentlemen.

The National Party spokesman on Foreign Affairs has been a critic of some political appointees to ambassadorial office, but a defender of the practice when judiciously employed. The Donnelly appointment to the Cooks was an example of the judicious use of the practice. His long-standing personal and family connections to the Cooks, offered the prospect that he would lift our representation above the functional formality offered by the appointment of an MFAT career officer.

It would be fair to say that his performance during a few short months in the job has more than justified the appointment. The National Party spokesman on Foreign Affairs is an occasional visitor to the Cooks. It is clear that across both sides of politics there, and (more importantly) amongst those outside of politics, Donnelly's performance has drawn the highest praise. His early departure is a blow to New Zealand's role and representation there, and we wish him well in his battle with illness.

This report is available weekly on my website at as well as being e-mailed each Friday. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your e-mail address on the mailing list, please e-mail


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