Here comes the politicisation of the public service

It looks like Shane Jones wants to politicise the public service.

Stuff reports:

Cabinet Minister Shane Jones, says he would like to “soften that line” between governance and the bureaucracy, including allowing ministers to appoint top officials.

In an interview on the provincial growth fund Jones, the Regional Development Minister railed against a bureaucratic system he characterised as a “treacle-riddled”, slowing down process around funding economic projects, without evidence of improved efficiency.

“I’m looking forward to fighting an election to change the way that politicians relate to the bureaucracy,” Jones said.

“I know we have this separation of governance and the bureaucracy, but I’m really attracted to the idea where the Aussies have softened that line, and key ministers bring in their s…-kickers to get things done. That’s always been my preference.”

Jones said his comments were not Government policy and were “not consistent with the State Services Act” but were ones he would like to campaign on in the future. End quote.

This is how you get corruption. It starts small, with a few appointments here and there, and then winds up with a patronage system in place and all the graft that goes with that. Quote:

Among other things State Services Act gives the State Services Commissioner the power over chief executive appointments, without influence from the Beehive, at least in theory.

Unlike many other countries, public servants are required to act in a politically neutral way.

The Public Services Association warned in December that the influence of ministerial advisors, Beehive staff which are appointed to serve the interests of their minister, are undermining this neutrality. End quote.

I’m with David Farrar in waiting for the PSA to condemn this move by Jones. I won’t hold my breath. Quote.

And Danyl McLauchlan: Quote.

You can see why Jones is doing this; it is all about his way or the highway. Quote:

Although Jones raised his inability to appoint a chief executive of the new Crown Forestry body, his main complaint appeared to be around the time it took to get projects through government funding processes.

Since his time as a minister in the Helen Clark-led Labour Government he had seen projects bogged down by process. Crown Irrigation Investments, set up with fanfare by the previous National-led Government “achieved very little” before the new Government announced it would wind down the scheme.

“It takes an inordinately long period of time to either get projects through statutory system, or to get funding allocations made,” Jones said.

“We’ve gone out, we’ve fought an election, subject to observing the rules of allocating funding, from the state into the economy, we should just get on with it.”

He claimed there was no evidence that the difficulty of the process led to better outcomes.

“Why is sluggishness seen as acceptable? In this fund, the best thing for me to do is to drive for outcomes, be efficient and expeditious.”

National economic and regional development spokesman Paul Goldsmith said the failure of officials to discover that a project which had been awarded funding from the provincial growth fund was backed by a businessman facing a Serious Fraud Office probe was what would be expected from a “slush fund”.

“Mr Jones has been so determined to shovel the money out the door as quickly as possible, basic due diligence on who is receiving the public money wasn’t carried out.”  End quote.

This initiative should be opposed vociferously.

If National tried this one the PSA would be marching in the streets. I bet there will be barely a whimper from them.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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