Spin doctors, logos and gloss can go – but how about restoring the ‘stud book’?

What on earth is State Services  minister Chris Hipkins up to?  First he wants a unified public service; now he is putting a stop to the wholesale deployment of consultants across departments, a cunning but expensive trick to circumvent staff shortages created by the sinking-lid policy of the previous government.

He says this won’t result in wholesale increases in the state sector since the government  ultimately controls its budget.

All of this has been welcomed by old hands in the service.  There is a widespread belief that departments today are too “silo-ised” and the connectedness of old has gone. They compete for staff. Continue reading “Spin doctors, logos and gloss can go – but how about restoring the ‘stud book’?”

How to step up a gear in the drive to shape a more loving and caring society

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Saving money, saving the planet and fostering family togetherness…

We hope someone in The Beehive spotted the news that EV owners share the love and recognised the policy implications.

No, this has nothing to do with the naming of the PM’s baby daughter. Rather, it relates to admirable sentiments expressed by the PM in the Speech from the Throne in November:

“This will be a government of aspiration. It aspires to make this a nation where all cultures and human rights are valued, where everyone can have decent housing and meaningful work, where education is free and good ideas flourish, where children live surrounded by creativity and love, and are encouraged to reach their full potential, and where we become world leaders on environmental issues and climate change.”

The press statement we have referenced raises the prospect of our driving towards this better tomorrow in electric vehicles.

It says: Continue reading “How to step up a gear in the drive to shape a more loving and caring society”

Peters has horse people crowing but he takes his whip to a chicken company

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If the TAB took bets on us – what then?

Four legs good, two legs bad.

It’s not quite as simple as that, we concede. Feathers, hooves, saddles and taxes come into considerations, too.

But since becoming Deputy Prime Minister and picking up the Racing portfolio, Winston Peters has been generous to the horse racing industry while remaining hostile towards Tegel Foods, a company which raises chickens on an industrial scale.

Tegel wants to set up a broiler chicken farm at Arapohue, just outside Dargaville, with a capacity to stock up to 1.3 million chickens and employ 28 people.

But local opposition to the project in Peters’ home patch is strong and he says Tegel’s tax contributions – dare we say it – are much too paltry. Continue reading “Peters has horse people crowing but he takes his whip to a chicken company”

McVicar rejects “loopy” tag – and he may bridle at being called an “expert” too

The headline atop a press release from the National Party complained the Government had again showed a contempt for expertise:  “Govt arrogantly dismissing experts and academics”.

The Ardern-Peters Government continued to arrogantly show it didn’t want its ideas challenged and that it is willing to insult those who disagree with its ministers, National’s Deputy Leader Paula Bennett says in the statement

Point of Order was aware of some recent examples she referenced.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford scoffed at the ‘kids’ at Treasury who were ‘fresh out of university and … completely disconnected from reality’ when they produced a forecast which raised questions about the impact of the KiwiBuild policy on residential construction. Continue reading “McVicar rejects “loopy” tag – and he may bridle at being called an “expert” too”

We welcome the PM into motherhood, too (but oops – did our GDP per capita just shrink a tad?)

The  global impact  of  the  birth of the Prime Minister’s baby at Auckland Hospital  cannot  be  over-estimated.  It has won headlines around he world, all for the right  reasons, for NZ.  Congratulations poured in from many world leaders.

There was great rejoicing at Point of Order, too. We extend our heartiest congratulations.

The symbolism  was  what  counted for  many of those  reporting the  event.  For example, a report from Lucy Hawkins, the BBC  correspondent in Moscow who is moderating reports of the  World  Cup, was headlined “the  baby a nation was waiting  for.”

She saw it  as a  message for girls  around the world:

 “You can  aspire to be  a  leader of the country  and  at the  same time have a family”

The combination of motherhood and prime minister has only once  before  been recorded, when Benazir Bhutto led Pakistan. Continue reading “We welcome the PM into motherhood, too (but oops – did our GDP per capita just shrink a tad?)”

Why the Greenies may be browned off with their party of principle

When Labour  went into coalition  with  NZ  First, it  seemed   astute  on the part of the Greens to back it on confidence and supply in exchange for  ministerial  positions. The Greens believed they  would be able to achieve several of their major policy  goals, without  suffering the fate of other small parties  suffocated  in the embrace of a  major party  in the process of governing  the country.

So how is it looking less than nine months into the term?  The  assessment is far from favourable:  the Greens  have  scored  enough own-goals to  dismay even onetime champions  like Sue  Bradford.

Any  government starts losing  votes   from  the day  it takes office.  For the Greens, as polls show, leakage of support has been on a scale which could threaten  the party’s survival  at  the next election. Continue reading “Why the Greenies may be browned off with their party of principle”

The Peters principle – sneering at the Opposition is better than giving them information

Winston Peters – speaking for the PM – was vexingly determined not to acknowledge the corrosive effects on people’s incomes of costs due to be raised by Government policies.

Asked by Opposition leader Simon Bridges if the PM stood by all her statements and policies, Peters – inevitably – said yes.

Bridges then asked if she was concerned her Government had implemented and proposed policies “that will significantly increase the cost of living for hard-working New Zealanders and their families?”

We didn’t get a no from Peters. Nor did we get a yes.

He opted to be contemptuously dismissive: Continue reading “The Peters principle – sneering at the Opposition is better than giving them information”

Finance Minister boasts of favourable feedback – in the form of just one letter

The only thing missing was the mournful playing of violins, when Finance Minister Grant Robertson answered a question – the patsiest of patsies – from Labour backbencher Kiritapu Allan.

The question had the potential to keep Robertson on his feet for the rest of the Parliamentary session:  what feedback has the Government received on the Families Package?

Alas, all we can know for sure from Robertson’s reply is that the Government received one letter (or maybe it was an email). He said: Continue reading “Finance Minister boasts of favourable feedback – in the form of just one letter”

Before foreigners pass the buck, new investment law will require a quality check

The bill stopping foreigners from buying houses in NZ has emerged from select  committee study with   significant   amendments.  Associate  Finance  Minister  David Parker   says the  new law will ensure the  market  for homes  is a  “NZ  market  not  an international  one”.  He  contends  Kiwis  should not be outbid by  “wealthier  foreign buyers”.

But the same bill now includes a move to encourage  “foreign direct  investment”  in forestry.   Forestry Minister Shane Jones says the legislation –  by bringing forestry rights into the overseas investment regime – will help promote high-quality foreign investment  which puts more emphasis on genuine benefits for New Zealanders.

So – foreign money  for  NZ homes  is  dirty but  foreign money for  NZ  trees is clean? Continue reading “Before foreigners pass the buck, new investment law will require a quality check”

Lessons in public service ethics are praiseworthy – but why link them with the Beehive?

The teaching of public service ethics is admirable. Accordingly we approve the expansion and changes to the Australia and New Zealand School of Government which include a newly created chair in public service ethics and integrity at Victoria University of Wellington.

But it is called the New Zealand Prime Minister’s ANZSOG Chair in Public Sector Ethics and Integrity, a more problematic proposition. Besides being a gob-stopping mouthful, the association of ethics and integrity with politicians – no matter how Right Honourable an incumbent PM might be – is fraught.

Politicians such as Housing Minister Phil Twyford have made no secret of their contempt for some public servants. Questioning Treasury’s estimates around KiwiBuild in the Budget, he said he did not agree with the “questionable assumptions” used and:

“I just think some of these kids in Treasury are fresh out of university and they’re are completely disconnected from reality.”

Continue reading “Lessons in public service ethics are praiseworthy – but why link them with the Beehive?”