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Homosexual discrimination in government revealed

Penguin Books (N.Z.) Limited

News Release
For immediate release
13 October 2003

Homosexual discrimination in government revealed

A senior New Zealand civil servant missed out on the top administrative job in the Commonwealth because of his homosexuality, historian Michael King reveals in his new Penguin History of New Zealand, published today.

Dr King writes that in 1965, when the position of Commonwealth Secretary-General was established, the favourite candidate for the job was the head of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Department, Alister McIntosh.

But at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in London that year, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Keith Holyoake was told by British security officials that McIntosh’s homosexuality made him susceptible to blackmail and therefore a security risk in the position. McIntosh then withdrew his nomination on health grounds and the Canadian Arnold Smith became the first person to hold the position. It was not until Don McKinnon was appointed to the post in 2000 that the secretary-generalship was held by a New Zealander.

McIntosh, who headed the Prime Minister’s Department in New Zealand for more than two decades and founded the country’s Diplomatic Service, was subsequently knighted and he ended his diplomatic career as New Zealand Ambassador in Rome from 1966 to 1970. Later he chaired the Broadcasting Council, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the trustees of the National Library. He died in 1978.
Copy ends

Michael King is not available for interview.


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