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Brash, Cullen tapped for roles in SOE reshuffle

Brash back in favour as SOE boards reshuffled; Cullen tapped

April 7 - Former National Party leader Don Brash is among notable new appointments to the boards of state-owned enterprises, announced today by SOE Minister Simon Power.

Brash joins the board of Transpower, the national grid company, while former head of the Commerce Commission, Paul Rebstock, will become deputy chair of Quotable New Zealand and former Labour Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen, who announced his retirement from politics yesterday, will join the NZ Post board.

Cullen's elevation by a National-led Government almost mirrors Labour's alacrity in using former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger on the boards of Post and Kiwibank. Cullen expects to become deputy chair from October 1.

Cullen’s retirement from politics ends a career that started when he first enterered Parliament for the Dunedin electorate, St Kilda, in 1981. He clashed with the then Finance Minister Roger Douglas, only to adopt Douglas's fiscal rectitude as an article of faith once he took that post himself in the 1990-99 Helen Clark government.

Ironically, Roger Douglas outlasts Cullen, having been re-elected to Parliament for the ACT Party at the 2008 election after more than a decade in retirement. Cullen will pursue consulting roles with several prominent iwi, including Waikato-Tainui and Tuwharetoa, as they continue to pursue land claims.

Among other key changes to SOE boards announced today include:
• Kordia: the telecommunications wunderkind has replaced chairman Wayne Brown with David Clarke, who has not previously served on the Kordia board. There was no biographical information immediately available on Clarke. Brown remains chair of Transpower;
• Former Fairfax CEO Joan Withers is appointed, subject to due diligence, to the MightyRiverPower board, and Deutsche Bank NZ CEO Brett Shepherd joins Meridian Energy's board on the same basis. Withers was in the past a Meridian Energy director;
• Long-time CEO of Toyota's New Zealand operations, Bob Field, joins the New Zealand Railways Corporation board
• Professional director Phil Lough takes the chairmanship at Quotable Value.


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