Sounds like a smear campaign to me, Helen Clark

Credit: Nicole Lawton/Stuff

Nick Sautner was employed by the Eden Park Trust back in June 2016.? Initially, his role was general manager of commercial, and then in September 2017 Nick was promoted to the role of chief executive officer of Eden Park.? Quote:

Auckland’s Eden Park Trust?has found?its new chief executive through internal promotion.

Nick?Sautner,?who is currently the park’s general manager of commercial, will begin his new role next month,?taking over from Guy Ngata who will become chief executive of Dubai Arena.

Trust board chairman Doug McKay said Sautner was the outstanding candidate for the role, given his experience and his significant contribution since arriving at Eden Park in June last year.? End of quote.

Nick Sautner was the right guy for the job and promoted on merit.? Months pass while Nick quietly gets on with the job of being chief executive.

In early June Sir Ray Avery announces his intention to hold a Live Aid-style concert at Eden Park on Waitangi Day 2019. He hopes to raise $4? million to fund 2000 LifePod incubators, which he hopes will save a million babies.

Then on 18 July Helen Clark tweeted a link to a Newsroom story and raised an issue about Nick Sautner?s previous employment dismissal.

What a coincidence. Why would this suddenly become important to Helen Clark?

I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, she was trying to cause some trouble for the chief executive of Eden Park Trust, because she was so upset about the proposed Waitangi Day concert.

If that was her plan, it backfired because the Eden Park Trust responded:? Quote:

The Eden Park Trust says it did extensive reference checking of the 40-year-old Australian before appointing him to two separate jobs, that his Melbourne exit was the result of a clash of personalities?with his?previous boss and it has full confidence in his performance and character.

Trust chairman Doug McKay said he had expected Sautner’s promotion at Eden Park might trigger attention to his past – and thanked?Newsroom?for raising questions over the appointment process. McKay had personally vetted Sautner with referees in Australia and New Zealand?before the full board made him chief executive.? End of quote.

Eden Park Trust already knew about Nick’s Melbourne exit and hired him anyway. I’m not going to table the details here because I think it’s none of our business. This is an employment matter. Eden Park Trust made a fully informed decision to hire Nick Sautner, and that’s all we need to know.

But Helen Clark thought it was her business to publicly question a private employment matter of someone who was essentially now a rival.

Her accusations were acknowledged and responded to in an appropriate manner by the Eden Park Trust Board and her concerns were adequately addressed. The smart thing to do now would be to let the matter drop.?

But she didn’t do that.

On 19 July she tweets again:

This time there is a link to a story on Stuff, where she says that the Eden Park Trust’s defence of their chief executive “sets a very low standard of behaviour.”? Quote:

Former prime minister Helen Clark has branded Eden Park Trust’s defence of the appointment of its chief executive as “unethical”.

The trust said it knew, when appointing Nick Sautner, of a past Federal Court decision in Australia that found he had been justifiably dismissed from a stadium management role in Melbourne.

“Unless he proves me wrong, Nick Sautner has our full support,” trust board chairman Doug McKay said in a statement on Thursday.? End of quote.

Helen Clark accuses the Eden Park Trust Board of being unethical. She says they set a low standard of behaviour. Oh, my. Let me take a break and find my words again; I’m momentarily lost for words.

Before I can even catch my breath, there’s another tweet:

Again, that unethical word. This is becoming a crusade. She can’t let it go. Even though Eden Park Trust have responded reasonably and fairly, she’s still going after them.

Another tweet on 19 July:

And still, they come. This time, it’s a “very low standard of behaviour.”

This is just getting ridiculous.

So, let’s sum up. Nick Sautner has been working for Eden Park Trust since mid-2016. Almost two years go by and no one seems to notice or care about his past. He does a good job and, based on merit, is promoted to the chief executive officer position.

Sir Ray Avery announces his concert, with support from the Eden Park Trust.

Helen Clark, along with the other 126 people who objected to the concert, had an established process to follow in the Environment Court to lodge their objections and have their concerns heard.

Instead, over two days, Helen Clark posts six tweets publicly maligning the character of Nick Sautner, and accusing the Eden Park Trust board of having a “very low standard of behaviour” and being “unethical”.

It sounds like a smear campaign to me.