Rodney Hide: Goddard's flight a bad look

Goddard then abruptly resigned. Photo / AP
Goddard then abruptly resigned. Photo / AP

Dame Lowell Goddard has badly let the team down.

For generations Kiwis have travelled to Britain and worked hard to build an enviable reputation as good workers.

Goddard's failure has been splashed through the British papers. It's not a good look.

She wasn't working at a bar or on a construction site. The British Government appointed the former High Court judge to chair its Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Not for her the minimum wage and a freezing flat. Her total remuneration package was reportedly close to $1 million a year. She had a London apartment and flights to and from New Zealand for her and her family. She was Britain's highest-paid civil servant.

There's no doubt her job was tough and contentious. It was to consider the extent to which State and non-State institutions in England and Wales have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. It's a mammoth exercise.

But Goddard declared herself up for the task, being "well aware of the scale of the undertaking. The inquiry will be long, challenging and complex."

She declared the "many, many survivors of child sexual abuse, committed over decades, deserve a robust and thorough investigation of the appalling crimes perpetrated upon them".

Notwithstanding her commitment, in her first and only year Goddard spent 44 working days in Australia and New Zealand and another 30 days on leave. That's more than three months away from the job at hand. There was an understandable outcry.

Goddard then abruptly resigned.

She has left the inquiry rudderless and at sea. The "many, many" victims who have come forward feel betrayed and let down.

The worst part is that Goddard has provided no proper explanation.

MPs have been calling for her to come again before Parliament to explain her shock resignation. It doesn't look as though she will avail herself of the opportunity.

The High Commission should issue an advisory declaring her not typical of Kiwis working overseas.

With one notable exception Kiwis can be relied upon to turn up and get the job done.

- Herald on Sunday

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Rodney Hide

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