It looks suspiciously like the government has a Biblical adviser to help with the names it gives to new agencies and programmes.
Earlier this week we turned to Google for a translation of “Hokai Rangi”, the name the Corrections Department has given to its widely publicised strategy for reducing (a) prison inmate numbers and (b) the high percentage of Maori in the prison population.
According to Google, the Government wants its brave new touchy-feely Corrections system to become Heaven.
And now we have an announcement from Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones that our new Infrastructure Commission should be known as …
… drum roll, please….
… the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga.
The Maori component of the commission’s name has been translated for us as “create“.
We imagine its work will take more than seven days and won’t be quite so awesome as the results from the original exercise in creation. Nor – we further imagine – will it inspire a musical masterpiece like Haydn’s Creation, although the good Lorde (remember her?) might give it a go.
Jones named Dr Alan Bollard as chairman of the new independent Infrastructure Commission. He will be joined by Jon Grayson as chief executive, David Cochrane, Raveen Jaduram, Sarah Sinclair, Stephen Selwood, and Sue Tindal.
The commission’s job is to develop “a long-term infrastructure plan and pipeline” and to help governments make decisions “to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders”.
The Coalition Government allocated a record $41 billion in Budget 2019 for capital spending over the next 5 years, focused on building schools, hospitals, houses, roads and public transport.
The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission is on track to be operational by October this year.
If Jones explained the Maori component of the commission’s name, we missed it
But we did go looking for a Maori word for “infrastructure”.
First, we tried the Maori Dictionary.
In response to our request to translate infrastructure into Maori, we were advised no matches could be found.
Then we went here. This time we got a one-word response, “Hanganga“.
We are sure Jones had good reasons for rejecting this in favour of the words which will steer the public to the office of the new commission.