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Interview panelist supports NZAF appointment

Sat 18 Dec 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Jonathan Smith Another person involved in the process of selecting the new head of the AIDS Foundation is publicly supporting the appointment of Shaun Robinson, saying the new Executive Director will be working with a strong team of experts in policy, prevention and support who understand HIV and the gay community. Jonathan Smith, a Life Member and past Chair of the Foundation, says the selection of a new Executive Director was always going to be difficult. In a statement released to GayNZ.com and cc'd to the NZAF Trust Board chair and a board member, Smith says he says criticism of the appointment of a straight man to the role is "unjust." "An acknowledgment needs to be made to the NZAF Trust Board on the selection," Smith says. "This was a difficult appointment and no matter who was selected I would expect there to be criticism from the 'community'. Criticism that is unjust when people don't even know the man or previewed his CV. It concerns me once again that we are hearing comments about the sexual orientation of the person who directs NZAF. He will be working with a strong team [which] understands the community and HIV." Smith says his preference is for the NZAF to have "a 'leader' who has the required skills in order to direct a team of experts in their work of policy, prevention and support." He says Robinson was chosen from "a very strong short list of candidates who all interviewed extremely well." "Shaun will bring a new set of skills, a vast array of wisdom and the passion to direct the organisation through the next period of the HIV epidemic," according to Smith. "I look forward to welcoming Shaun to NZAF at the end of January 2011... As a member of one of the two interview panels and an NZAF life member, I would like to congratulate Shaun on his appointment and wish him the best of luck as he steers the foundation into a new era and offer him my full support." Two panels interviewed the candidates shortlisted for the position. The first panel, centred on NZAF board members, was charged with making the appointment. It was provided with input from a second panel centred on what the NZAF called 'key stakeholders,' of which Smith was a member. Fellow panelist Tom Hamilton of Rainbow Youth has also strongly supported the appointment. You can discuss this New Zealand gay community news story in the GayNZ.com Forum.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 18th December 2010 - 8:30pm

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