National backtracks on support for Trump’s NZ staffer Chris Liddell

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The National Party has rescinded its backing for Chris Liddell to take over as secretary-general of the OECD given the recent rioting at the United States Capitol.

Stephen A. Schwarzman (C), CEO of the Blackstone Group, and Chris Liddell (R), White House Director of Strategic Initiatives, and US President Donald Trump (L) and others in the  White House campus April 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.

From left: US President Donald Trump, CEO of the Blackstone Group Stephen Schwarzman and Chris Liddell share a moment before a meeting at the White House in April 20017. Photo: AFP

The New Zealander who is the White House’s deputy chief of staff was nominated for the job by President Donald Trump last year.

At the time, opposition leader Judith Collins said it was a no-brainer for the government to back Liddell, describing him as highly qualified.

But in a statement issued to RNZ, Collins said the US Capitol riot had rightly tarnished those who incited the violence.

She said it was difficult to see how Liddell would be suitable to uphold the OECD’s strong commitment to democracy.

In November, Collins said the experienced businessman would work more in New Zealand’s interests than anyone else in the role.

Asked at the time if his appointment would be in the country’s interests given the Trump administration has undermined the WTO and various global treaties, she said: “I’m sure you’ll find that when he’s in that job, should he be fortunate enough to get it, he will be looking to the whole of the situation, particularly for New Zealand.”

The government has yet to say who it will back for the position.

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