David speculates that there will be keen competition for the nomination and mentions Grant Robertson and Phil Lewin as possible contenders.
Phil Lewin comes from an interesting family. His father, Jack Lewin was a highly controversial head of the Public Service Association in the ’40s and a close associate of suspected Soviet spy, William Ball Sutch.
While not publicly known as such, Jack Lewin was a member of the Communist Party of New Zealand for several years. He was a member of the party by at latest, 1942. According to fellow Communist, Ron Smith, writing in his 1995 autobiography “Working Class Son”, Lewin was elected as an alternate member of the Wellington District committee in 1943. Smith claims Lewin let his membership lapse, but continued to promote party policy in the PSA and work closely with party members.
Former People’s Voice editor Dick Scott, claimed in his 2004 autobiography, “A Radical Writer’s Life”, that Jack Lewin was a member of the Party’s security body, the Control Commission-a role reserved for only the most trusted of comrades.
I have been told that the Control Commission was only formed in 1948.
In 1954, Jack Lewin married his secretary, June Joblin. According to “Seeing Red” by former Security Intelligence Service agent, George Fraser, June Joblin was also a Communist Party member.
Later in life, Jack Lewin was identified with the Labour Party, but maintained his interest in communism until late in life. He died in 1990.
Lewin gained a BA Hons (First Class) in English Studies from Victoria, an M Phil from Balliol College Oxford (Rhodes Scholarship), and a Diploma in Social Sciences from Massey University where he studied Economics.
After graduating, Philip Lewin entered the Foreign Affairs Department and by 1986 was head of the East European Affairs desk.
Lewin studied Russian in Australia and by the late ’80s was second secretary in the New Zealand Embassy in Moscow.
He also served in Melbourne, Geneva, and in Washington where he dealt with WTO, APEC and dairy access issues. He was Deputy Director of the Trade Negotiations Division and New Zealand’s lead negotiator for the WTO GATS. He was also involved in negotiating NZ’s Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with Singapore.
From 2001 to 2004, Lewin was chief executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
Lewin became Chief Executive of Positively Wellington Business in January 2005 an organisation funded by the Wellington, Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Kapiti councils.
In March 2005 Phil Lewin was appointed by the Prime Minister Clark, as one of NZ’s three ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) representatives. He is also chairman of the NZ Trade Liberalisation Network and a board member of the NZ–USA Business Council. He is also a ministerial appointee to the Council of the Open Polytechnic of NZ.
Clearly a man to watch.