I want to talk about Chris Liddell.
It is entirely possible that the NZ government may never actually have to choose whether it wants to support Chris Liddell in his bid for the secretary general’s job in the OECD
It’s entirely possible that if Trump loses the election, Liddell’s nomination goes nowhere because his sponsor is out of the White House.
It may be also be that he isn’t the best candidate for NZ to back.
He might not actually want to further the things that matter to NZ, and so we might be better off backing another candidate who does push the things that we care about. Perhaps that’s the Australian candidate, their former finance minister Mathias Cormann?
But either way, it is disappointing that there is such strong opposition to NZ backing him to that job from within his own home country.
The disappointing thing is that he appears to be judged not for what he’s done, but for the man he works for.
Some are blaming him for just being there in the White House, for simply enabling Trump’s policies.
Some are blaming him for specifically supporting Trump’s controversial policy of removing migrant children from their parents.
But there appears no proof of this. All we seem to know is that there was a meeting in 2018 where Trump officials voted for this policy and he was expected to be at the meeting, but that is not proof that he supported it.
That is about the worst that his opponents can throw at him, that he might’ve been at a meeting.
It is somewhat rich that the most strident critic of Liddell is Golriz Ghahraman, a Green MP who famously defended an alleged Rwandan war criminal.
If anybody should understand that you should not always be judged over the perception of your job, it’s Ghahraman.
As I said, NZ might not choose to support Liddell in this position.
But if we do that, that decision should be driven by the quality of each candidate, not how we feel about their current boss.