How “responsibility” is being redefined on Ardern’s watch – first at the top, and now at ministerial level

The Ardern  government, adding  a  fresh  policy  pile-up to  the heap  it  has  accumulated,  has been  busy re-defining   the  core   principle  of   ministerial  responsibility.

Health  Minister   David   Clark   has   joined   Transport  Minister  Phil  Twyford   in  the  “look, no hands”  brigade,   as he  shrugs  off   responsibility   for   failing  to  ensure  the government’s   strict border  protocols   as  agreed   by  Cabinet   were  implemented.

And  Twyford, adding the failure to deliver Labour’s  key  2017 election pledge to  build   Auckland’s  light  rail  by 2021  to  his  KiwiBuild  performance,  must still be laughing  as he   draws  his  ministerial  salary  and looks  forward to  another term,  after being  promoted  to  number four on   Labour’s list.

The  consequence  is  headlines  such as “Phil Twford, Minister of   embarrassing failures”  and  “David Clark throws  Ashley Bloomfield  under a  bus,  while Bloomfield looks on”.

Not   quite  the sort   Labour   will cherish  as  it  goes  into a general election  campaign.

Point  of  Order, in an earlier  post,  noted   what  is  emerging  in  NZ as  a redefinition  of   leadership:  Ardern  is   there to lead,  not to take  responsibility.  This defies    all  previous conventions in a  parliamentary   democracy.

This  is  now being refined  for  ministers, too.   They  are there   to  get  Cabinet sign-off  on measures,  but not to take  responsibility  when  a programme is not fulfilled. Continue reading “How “responsibility” is being redefined on Ardern’s watch – first at the top, and now at ministerial level”