Muzza comes good

Murray McCully might not have more than 50 members in his electorate but he is showing the way with budget savings in his department:

Most of the Ministry and Foreign Affairs 600 staff will have to reapply for their jobs under a radical restructuring proposal that could see up to 300 jobs go and lucrative allowances for staff on overseas postings whittled back to boost pay packets back home.

Staff will be told on Thursday about proposals to cull up to 50 diplomatic positions by closing embassies in cities including Stockholm and Warsaw, and downsizing others.

As many as 140 overseas-based administration jobs and around 100 corporate positions – some based in Wellington and the rest on secondment overseas – are also in line to be axed and some of those functions contracted out.

Under the most radical proposal, up to 600 positions engaged in work outside MFAT’s overseas development aid arm – most of the ministry’s core staff – will be advertised and staff told to reapply.

Sources say the proposals are an attempt to shake up a ministry which awards promotions based on pecking order and seniority.


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  • Gazzaw

    About fucken time. No one minds a bit of lavish hosting when it comes to securing much needed trade from offshore markets. That’s just a cost of doing business. Neither do I expect senior staff to travel economy class or stay in 3 star hotels because it does not convey the right image for NZ. Again it’s just a cost of doing business.

    What I do resent is second stringers and their families flying business or first class as a right, massive repositioning allowances, chauffeur driven embassy cars on tap, duty free privileges etc. It’s high time that Foreign Affairs offshore staff were treated just as any expat corporate would be.
    More local staff will no doubt be employed in embassies and high commissions which is quite acceptable as long as the meet all of the security checks.

    Labour will no doubt criticise these moves but their criticisms will fall on unsympathetic ears.if the public get to know about the life of riley that expat FA staff & their families have been living.  

    • Blokeintakapuna

      NZ got to see all the baubles of office when Comrade Clark needed Winnie (No Baubles of power for me) Peters, but didn’t want him actually in NZ – so she sent him all over the world to keep him away. Us tax payers foot the bill for that. Unfortunately though, he must have had a return ticket – shame!

    • Kthxbai

      Couple of problems there.  While I agree that MFAT’s comfy little system is due for a serious overhaul,

      1:  Expat corporate housing and allowances are generally quite a bit better and Embassy/HC equivaltents.

      2.  Local staff can’t automatically be trusted, especially if they are in decision making roles.  Funny how the immigration local staff tend to have much better houses and cars than you would expect, and how they attract undue respect from the locals.  This is a problem in postings where English isn’t spoken as a first language, and where the local culture isn’t as corruption-free as we are.

      But yes, a bit of merit promotion and a few more staff from outside the department would be a very good thing.

    • johnjack1

      Lots of problems with this nonsense: staff don’t fly business or first class ‘as a right’; they don’t get ‘massive’ repositioning allowances; they don’t have chauffeur driven embassy cars ‘on tap’.

      What’s going to happen as a result of all this is threefold: first, we’ll lose many of our best and brightest who work twelve hour days to benefit the country (free trade agreements aren’t put together by John Key leering at the cameras); second, the HR division (may God help us) will strengthen its hold on the Ministry; and third, we’ll be further reduced in the eyes of those countries which see their overseas relationships as fundamental to their economic futures.

      Ungrammatical sub-literate shit such as you’ve posted provides an adequate measure of your logical powers.  If the public knew about ‘the life of riley’ (sic) that diplomats endure away from home there’d be a lot less of this unintelligent comment. And by the way, the comparison with expat secondment deals won’t stack up, and neither will MFAT’s stupidity in trying to reshape itself as a corporation.

      • Bunswalla

        By “measure of your logical powers” do you really mean “measure of your powers of logic”?  Hoist by your own ungrammatical petard.

        I have personal (business) experience of the incredible amount of FAT in MFAT and the best possible thing they can do is sack all the dead wood and cruisers, and out-source every non-core component of MFAT’s work – which fortunately is exactly what McCully and John Allen are going to do.

        MFAT went to the market 3 times in 6 years for a non-core business system, broke all their own rules on each occasion, and caused numerous hard-working vendors to jump through hoops for their amusement. On each occasion (we saw the light after two farcical processes) they didn’t implement any solution, and now the whole department, plus their over-priced bottom-feeding consultant ‘mates’ have all been given the heave-ho and their precious jobs are being out-sourced to a company that knows what it’s doing.

        Fucking good job.

      • Gazzaw

        So which gummint department do you work for johnjack?

        John Key leering? I think that gives us a fair indication of where you sit in the political spectrum. 

        I stand by all of those claims in terms of creature comforts.

        Check out the phone directory & I think that you will find a fair few Rileys there.

      • Pharmachick


        I’m sorry about all the vitriol you’ve been subjected to, I partly agree with you. There are several uninformed comments here that make the NZ foreign service sound like troughers. Unfortunately for some of the commenters, they fail to understand the difference between foreign embassy or consular staff and domestic parliamentary staff. Quite frankly the difference is more than night and day, it is more like heaven (foreign service) and hell (NZ public service).  The posts denigrating embassy and consular staff thoroughly ignore the super-long hours that embassy and consulate personnel commonly perform. These are the types of people that say “yes I will get out of bed at 4 am to help your daughter/son/sister/auntie/father with their visa problem/arrest/mugging/theft/drug trial. Kiwis reading this thread, I’m not even REMOTELY embassy nor consular staff, but THINK ABOUT IT … you get mugged in Argentina, do you want the NZ Ambassador (or Consul) to be able to help, with in depth local knowledge and ability to speak all languages and dialects … or not? 

  • AnonWgtn

    Expect that Labour/Greenpeace will give Winston Foreign Affairs – he has had some – to keep him out of the way – or make him Prime Minister, but Russell Wussel has that job on line.

  • LesleyNZ

    Hope he also gets new advisers – especially those who advise him concerning Fiji and the Pacific region.

  • Guest

    Hope McGully is re-applying for his role as well..

  • peterwn

    Heard of a case where a prospective ambassador refused to take a posting because there was a stink of sewage at the embassy house. I bet a young career hungry diplomat then jumped at the chance and then either tolerated the stink, figured a way of getting the drains fixed cheaply or sold the house, purchased something else and left MFAT in profit. It is the latter we want representing NZ and its no 8 wire values.

    • jay cee

      ‘heard of a case” sounds like another “friend of a friend” (FOAF) anecdote being put up as hard evidence here.  

  • Phar Lap

    Just before the ill fated Clark Government crashed,Peters had done a deal with that pack of irresponsible bludging last of the taxpayer funded Liebour Party losers for Six hundred million to be squandered on Foreign Affairs.Great news he didnt get it, HE GOT DUMPED.

  • johnjack1

    I agree with most of Bunswalla’s remarks! But let’s get one thing straight – I retract nothing about logical powers by someone careful to ignore the important word ‘adequate’ and oblivious to the normal rhythms of English speech. BUT I agree completely on the matter of their administrative (ie Wellington-based) incompetence. I detect the embitterment of an unsuccessful would-be vendor…..

    If the pricks in Wellington get the heave-ho, all well and good; my greatest fear is that they won’t, because they’re controlling the whole process.

  • thor42

    I’m just waiting for the military to have the axe taken to them.
    I can’t remember where I saw it (it may have even been here), but i remember seeing that NZ has literally *dozens* of Squadron Leaders and a fair few Commodores as well.
    If that’s the case, then there’s a shitload of fat there waiting to be trimmed away. 

  • Greg M

    Thor that’s the main reason I left. 80 senior ratings ( tradesmen with 20 yrs experience) not getting their contracts renewed while the navy still has 2 rear admirals,several commodores, 45 Captains, all who command a desk and haven’t been to sea for years. There is more than 500 lieutenants FFS, we have 11 ships.
    The Airforce has 86 squadron leaders, for 6 squadrons.
    I saw the writing on the wall as did other experienced crew, and said fuck it, time for a career change.