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Edwards complains Paula Bennett’s “partisan activity” means she’s unfit to chair Pharmac board

Summarised by Centrist

Former National deputy PM Paula Bennett has been appointed chair of drug-buying agency Pharmac – with left-wing critics complaining.

Bennett – who was a member of parliament for five terms has been appointed chair of Pharmac, stirring comment from  political writer Dr Bryce Edwards. She has been minister or spokesperson for State Services, Women, Tourism, Police and Climate Change Issues, and received the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship.

Edwards, of VUW, has complained that Bennett’s track record of “raising millions of dollars in corporate donations for her party” makes her unfit, adding “Bennett’s various business, partisan and government roles mean she has several potential conflicts of interest that will need scrutiny and management.”

The appointment was officially apolitical and was overseen by The Treasury – which has a permanent team carrying out due diligence on the appointment process.

Edwards likened the appointment as being “jobs for the boys” and “cronyism”. He further warned that Bennett “will have to display total independence from the ministers that she is closely associated with”.He also claims public confidence in Pharmac has been undermined by the appointment. 

Editor’s note: From the Centrist perspective, it is reasonable to be questioning the supposedly apolitical nature of this appointment.

Read Dr Bryce Edwards on Substack

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