The PSA celebrates membership growth – but public services are expanding too

The State Services Commission declares on its website it is part of the Open Government Partnership, a forum of countries working to be more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.

The State Services Commission is leading this in New Zealand, it says, so at Point of Order we figured we would have no problem getting hold of the latest data to give a measure of the pace of growth in state sector employment numbers.

Our appetite for fresh figures was fuelled by the PSA’s celebrating growth in its membership.  Terrific –  but maybe this growth is an inevitable consequence of growth in public-sector worker numbers.

We found data to the end of June 2017 on the SSC website but wanted to ensure there was no more recent stuff. Continue reading “The PSA celebrates membership growth – but public services are expanding too”

Among the questions about Curran – can she make a Cabinet comeback?

Why would a PM want to retain as a minister someone who has committed a cardinal  mistake not once but twice? It’s a question with no immediately transparent answers.

Losing a seat in Cabinet and some portfolios may seem a severe setback, if not a mortal blow, to a political career — but if you keep the two portfolios you really covet it’s not too much of a hardship.

The financial penalty isn’t too severe either – a Cabinet minister’s annual salary is $296,007.  This drops to $249,839 for ministers outside cabinet. Continue reading “Among the questions about Curran – can she make a Cabinet comeback?”

Wanted: a CEO who can bring lost prestige back to MFAT

The mega shuffle of public service CEOs  (which   Point of  Order   noted  in  a   June  13 post, State Services: What’s behind the “Upheaval”) throws up some  significant challenges for the States Services Commission.

Most interest is focused on a   replacement  for  the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s CEO, Dr Brook Barrington, who will move to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet early next year to become, in effect, the government’s senior public adviser.

The State Services Commission – and probably Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters – will be reluctant to follow Murray McCully’s example in the last government of bringing in a private-sector replacement CEO.  MFAT itself has two good candidates: Bede Corry, currently deputy CEO, and Chris Seed, about to finish his term as high commissioner in Canberra.

Given Peters’ early pronouncement of Australia constituting NZ’s most important diplomatic relationship, Seed may have his nose in front. Continue reading “Wanted: a CEO who can bring lost prestige back to MFAT”

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’?”