Thursday, 30 April 2009

John Allen likely to be named NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade head?


John Allen for MFAT?
The Trans Tasman Political Letter is reporting that John Allen, current CEO of NZ Post is the front runner to head MFAT, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

They also claim the choice of John Allen as the favoured candidate, is underpinned by a determination by the National government in general, and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser in particular, to implement a "change of culture" at the ministry.

Standards - metrics - evidence
From my understanding of John Allen, he will certainly be that. Charismatic, driven, and totally focused, he brought NZ Post from a state of atrophy to a vibrant, and profitable player in the banking and new communications space.

Under his stewardship, even in these times, business diversification strategies helped the New Zealand Post Group achieve a net profit of $52.8 million in the half year ended 31 December 2008. These earnings compare with the $52.9 million reported for the corresponding previous half year.

I once saw him give an after dinner speech to a room full of politicians, public servants, and industry types gathered to debate national digital strategies.

He left us all stunned! It wasn't just the loudness of the voice - it was the sheer passion to suceed that broke people out in cold sweats. Good god! He was asking for standards - metrics - evidence!

Trade versus Aid?
On that one encounter alone I have no doubt, if appointed, he will bring a welcome sense of urgency to the role of the Ministry as an advocate for trade and prosperity.

NZ Aid
However, it would also be very good to hear his views on how country specific development aid contributes to the alleviation of poverty in the receiving country. In short, will he reverse the plan to bring NZAid in house, and it let it stand alone with its own independence of purpose.

OLPC - Pacific
And, given his competence in the digital space, it would be absolutely the total ships biscuit if he could introduce some clarity of vision, thought and execution to how New Zealand supports and encourages the use of ICT for development!

For example, by getting behind some of the Pacific initiatives like OLPC - Pacific. Perhaps someone can point his mouse there. Then, tis to be hoped we wait for the roar!


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