Cabinet hotly debated Ms Rankin’s appointment.
Christine Rankin says she is “really surprised” by the reaction to her controversial appointment as a Families Commissioner.
United Future leader Peter Dunne, architect of the Families Commission, today lambasted the appointment as “a mistake” and called on Ms Rankin to reject the position.
Ms Rankin, who recently remarried for the fourth time, said today she had not expected the furore over her appointment.
“I am really surprised by the level of reaction,” said Ms Rankin.
The Government confirmed today Ms Rankin was one of two new appointees to the commission in a decision which has already sparked controversy.
The Families Commission was set up as a Crown agency to promote better understanding of families issues as part of a support deal between United Future and Labour following the 2002 election.
National was previously scathing of it but agreed to retain it as part of its post-election support agreement with Mr Dunne.
Ms Rankin led a group opposed to Ms Bradford’s anti-smacking legislation – which National voted for. As head of For The Sake Of Our Children Trust she went head to head with former Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro and child advocate groups.
During the anti-smacking debate Ms Rankin referred to former Prime Minister Helen Clark as childless, which Mr Goff said was an unacceptable personal attack.
Ms Bennett said she had argued for the appointment.
“I think we were pretty strong in putting her forward, and she certainly presented well,” she told reporters.
“I think Christine has some pretty strong views on things, I think she will bring those views to the commission and as a consequence the decisions that come out of it will be fairly robust.”
Lobby group Family First NZ welcomed the appointments.
“Both Christine and Bruce will bring the Commission ‘down to earth’ and rather than being blinded by ideology, it will hopefully start listening to the voice of families and advocating for them in a relevant way,” said Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First.