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Mighty River Power chairperson and TVNZ deputy chairperson, Joan Withers, joining ANZ NZ's board

Mighty River Power chairperson and TVNZ deputy chairperson, Joan Withers, joining ANZ NZ's board

Joan Withers, the chairperson of state owned enterprise Mighty River Power which the government is set to partially privatise through an initial public offering, will join the board of ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd as an independent director on July 1.

ANZ says her appointment has already been approved by the Reserve Bank.

Withers is the former CEO of Fairfax Media New Zealand and the Radio Network. Aside from Mighty River Power, she also chairs Auckland International Airport Ltd, and is Deputy chairperson of Television New Zealand. She has an MBA from the University of Auckland.

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Nice. That will improve relationships with the parliamentary opposition.


What on Earth does the management at Mighty River Power think it was doing with its blanket refusal to answer questions posed by the very parliamentary committee to which those running the power generator are supposedly accountable?


Although it might seem relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things, such obstructive behaviour must technically come close to contempt of Parliament. It was certainly an affront, if not an outright insult, to the commerce select committee and thus to Parliament as a whole.


Mighty River Power's unwillingness to respond to nearly 100 of the 133 written questions submitted by the committee was rationalised on the flimsiest, most ridiculous but ultimately the most dishonest of grounds - a pedantic and childish interpretation of what are standard annual queries.


It is a terrible precedent, which other Crown entities will be tempted to follow.


In one stroke, Mighty River Power has made a mockery of Parliament's annual financial review mechanism, which requires select-committee assessment of whether Crown entities and enterprises are functioning in a fashion consistent with their forecast performance.  Read NZ Herald article


Does this signal that ANZ believes it is also beyond the purview of parliament? We cannot let ourselves evolve into the technocratic mess that is called  Europe. We need to grab power back from increasingly incompetent, cabinet sponsored, non-elected officials.