Parliament’s outgoing Speaker Lockwood Smith let the proverbial out of the bag by revealing in his valedictory speech this evening that Simon Tucker is NZ’s High Commissioner-designate to Canada.
Tucker – a former MFAT official and Fonterra manager – was until recently a boss at DairyNZ.
Smith acknowledged Tucker as one of a trio of talented former staffers who had been groomed by his private secretary Beryl Bright during the period they served in his office while he was Trade Minister in the Bolger/Shipley governments. The other two were lobbyist Matthew Hooton and Ben King who is foreign affairs adviser to John Key.
Tucker’s appointment has been an open secret in Wellington for two months. It is understood some in MFAT are not happy with Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s decision to make Tucker High Commissioner on a time-limited contract.
The HC-designate will wing his way to Ottowa.
Postscript: Nice anecdote doing the rounds at Lockwood’s post-valedictory drinks at parliament. The former speaker referred in his speech to how Beryl Bright was instrumental in six marriages during their time in the Beehive. King confirmed later that Beryl insisted that both he and Tucker go down to Walker & Hall in Wellington to (separately) pick-out some elegant diamond rings for their intended fiancées. “She must have been on commission,” he quipped.