Programme to foster greater diversity in the state services (including intelligence work) gets under way

The spooks are becoming more diverse.

We say this not because we have blown their cover but because we were told so by the Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Priyanca Radhakrishnan.

The Minister was enthusing about the the newly established graduate programme for ethnic communities, which begins today and will span several public agencies.

New Zealand has 213 ethnicities and more than 160 languages are spoken here, she said.

Ethnic communities make up nearly 20 per cent of our population.

The Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme will provide a pathway into the Public Service for skilled graduates from ethnic communities while improving cultural competency across the Public Sector.

Twenty-three graduates will start work across 12 agencies,

“…  including the intelligence community, as part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019, which highlighted the need for more diversity across the Public Service.” Continue reading “Programme to foster greater diversity in the state services (including intelligence work) gets under way”

State service heads face much the same challenge as journalists – getting through to Ardern’s Ministers is a struggle

Andrea Vance, writing at Stuff, has taken the Ardern government to task for its media “management,” how ministers evade questions, how they deflect interviews and questions all, of course, in the name of the PM’s much-vaunted transparency.

Well, it seems she has stumbled on to something bigger than her focus on journalists struggling to get information.  From our inquiries we have found that heads of departments, ministries and agencies are facing something of the same challenge.

Firstly, ministers are said to be keeping permanent heads at a distance. Some find it hard to secure scheduled appointments.

In the good old days, the permanent head of each department saw his or her minister before Monday Cabinet meetings – and frequently in between.

Now there is a layer of “advisers” between them. Continue reading “State service heads face much the same challenge as journalists – getting through to Ardern’s Ministers is a struggle”

Sir Ron is reduced to Ron: asset-stripper strips himself of his knighthood before the PM gets around to it

Firefighters have been honoured while an asset stripper has been dishonoured – he dishonoured himself, actually – in the past 24 hours.  

The dishonouring involved Ron Brierley, once a famous name in business and cricketing circles in the the capital city, who didn’t wait for the PM to strip him of his knighthood.  He has written to the Clerk of the Executive Council to tender his resignation as a Knight Bachelor.

The Queen has been informed. We imagine she was not amused, if Brierley happened to provide her with the explanation behind his decision to become plain Ron instead of Sir Ron.

News of this was announced on International Firefighters Day, an event which triggered a statement from Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti.

She mixed her admiration for firefighters with some braying about spending some of the government’s Covid-19 funding on building fire stations: Continue reading “Sir Ron is reduced to Ron: asset-stripper strips himself of his knighthood before the PM gets around to it”

Victims of a no-deal Brexit: the civil service?

When London’s Sunday Times splashed Government contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit – five pages of fearsome consequences – the public response was surprisingly tepid. That they appear to have been prepared under the previous administration might lessen the scare factor. But this sort of material seems to be losing its power to shock, surprise – and convince.  Partisans of both sides mine the data to support their views.  But it may be useful in another way.

Continue reading “Victims of a no-deal Brexit: the civil service?”

State services: what’s  behind the “upheaval”?

State  Services  Commissioner  Peter Hughes, announcing five top appointments in the state sector,  said he  decided to deal with the vacancies as a package to remove uncertainty and maintain momentum in key roles and portfolios.

The Dominion-Post headlined the news as“Upheaval for public service”.  Richard Harman  in  Politik, labeling it  as the   most comprehensive  reshuffle of  top public service  management  “ever”, argued the govt is saying the move reflects its desire that a more unified old-style public service be further developed.  David Farrar, in Kiwiblog, noting the  appointments  were  made by transfer,  thought this is the first time this power has been used.

“It is very good to see these decisions made before most of the roles fall vacant. This means no need for an Acting CE, and gives good continuity and direction”.

Equal Employment Opportunities  Commisioner  Dr  Jackie  Blue has  a  different  take  on it.  She  blasted the process  as  unfair to  top  women in  the  public service,  and contended  the  vacant    positions  should have been contestable.      Continue reading “State services: what’s  behind the “upheaval”?”