Dame Silvia Will Replace Kelly In Canada
As the Kelly Canadian saga gathers momentum, Trans-Tasman can reveal Labour has already made plans to replace him with Dame Silvia Cartwright, who is due to finish her term at Govt House next year. The March 17 Trans-Tasman reported Govt insiders as believing she wanted a diplomatic post, but neither New York nor Washington would be available.
Meanwhile calls for the Govt to sack Graham Kelly mounted as Opposition parties made political capital out of the “offensive” comments (first disclosed in this country by Trans-Tasman last week) Kelly delivered to a Canadian Parliamentary Committee. The Govt rebuffed those calls, but says Kelly is “on notice.”
Criticism of Kelly’s diplomatic gaffe ranged from the PM’s “inappropriate” to Tariana Turia’s “extremely offensive.”
The Greens’ Metiria Turei said it was not good enough for Kelly to hide behind MFAT and the Foreign Minister, and apologise via a press release: he should come and meet ethnic communities, hold meetings on marae, and front up to Pacific Island communities to “explain himself.”
National’s Pansy Wong believes Kelly should step down, saying he can’t represent NZ if he voices racist opinions and alienates Asian NZers.
Foreign Minister Phil Goff says he got an explanation from Kelly during a visit to Ottawa this month.
Rejecting demands Kelly be recalled, Goff asserted the comments had been out of character: they had been meant to be “lighthearted, but failed in that endeavour.”
Goff added: “If he had not been doing a good job as High Commissioner, if he had not shown the energy and enthusiasm for representing NZ, we would look at this option.” This is not the first time he has had to be reminded what the role of a NZ diplomatic representative abroad entails.
For the Govt, the embarrassment adds to
the series of cock-ups and snafus it has experienced in
recent months, calling into question its competency in