Matthew Hooton flies a kite
For two years, the government has meandered. Ministers are housetrained. Their focus has turned to bureaucratic processes rather than policy outcomes. An unattractive arrogance has emerged. Mr Key, expected to reshuffle his team in the New Year, may opt to strike early.
The top candidate to be sacked is obviously Nick Smith. Beyond his Kermadec and Resource Management Act failures, the housing triumvirate of Dr Smith, Bill English and Paula Bennett is not working, at least politically. Mr English should be allowed to get on with it alone. Ms Bennett might try another economic role, say tourism.
Second for sacking is surely Nathan Guy who seems to think his job is reading out the Ministry for Primary Industries’ talking points rather than the elected official in charge of rooting out what looks increasingly like corruption within it.
His logical replacement is Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller, a former senior executive at both Zespri and Fonterra whose experience, at least at the former, would signal the government understands agribusiness is about consumer perceptions of value rather than pumping out greater volume from the farmgate.
There is indeed a level of ineffectiveness and complacency present, but luckily this is against the backdrop of the government getting most of the boring basics right. Read more »