Hosking on the government’s reviews, inquiries and money wasting

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

Mike Hosking, in his Friday column at the NZ Herald, decries the waste of resources this government are throwing at reviews and inquiries to replace their lack of joined-up policy thinking: Quote:

A big, fat, red flag to end the week around the Government’s passion for working groups, inquiries, and the cost of them.

We know several things about working groups. One: they take longer than they planned. Two: there is no guarantee any of what they say will ever come to pass. Three: they cost a fortune.

And it is three that turns out to be the problem, with the revelation that a group that was set up to look into water, and bottling water and exporting water offshore, turns out never to have produced a report at all.

It was set up under the previous government, there were nine of them they were paid $500 a day. Nothing, it appears came from it. End quote.

That is an outrage; a complete waste of money. Quote:

This Government has over 100 of these inquiries. The bill is millions, tens of millions, there are so many you’d be excused for forgetting what they’re all looking into.

And you’d be further excused if you never heard from a bunch of them ever again. And that, of course, is why governments so often set up these sort of groups. It gets the issue, whatever it is, out of the news.

Water bottling you’ll remember was contentious. Is it contentious now? Not really, haven’t heard anything lately. The election is over and no one cares any more.

It’s one of the many vagaries of the human condition. We can be apoplectic one day, blasé the next. End quote.

Which is why I advise clients being attacked by social-justice bullies that they should say nothing and definitely do not apologise. They are soon distracted by the next outrage. Quote:

In another little irony the chair, a bloke called David Caygill, who train spotters may remember from the halcyon days of the Lange government, said they met somewhere between six and 12 times.

David Caygill is typical of the report brigade. They’re the same people recycled over and over. Government jobs on committees and inquiries for life.

We’ve got Sir Michael Cullen, Jim Bolger, Mike Moore, Dame Annette King, Dame Margaret Bazley, Dame Paula Rebstock.

The same old suspects. Experts in everything for $500, if not more a day. End quote.

He’s forgotten Mark Gosche, who seems to be the golden boy for appointments at the moment. The trough is always being extended. Quote:

And Caygill says his group met we meet between six and 12 times.

He doesn’t even know how many times he met.

Isn’t that in the invoice? If you’re getting paid per day and part of that day is the meeting, wouldn’t you know what you did, and when, and what came out of it?

Eleven or 12 maybe. But six or 12? That’s quite the difference.

Anyway, what to do about bottled water? Does anyone care anymore?

My argument was always simple: councils should be charging a lot more than they do.

But the entire debate laboured under the misapprehension that we didn’t have enough water in the first place is rubbish – we do.

We capture about two per cent of the water that falls on to our land. The rest flows out to sea or soaks into the ground. We are not short of water

Most of the angst was the fact the bottlers were Asian. And Asians are responsible for everything from no homes, expensive homes, crowding tourist spots, and stealing our water in bottles. It’s xenophobic nonsense.

Maybe that’s the upside of all this, yes we got stiffed on a report, and yes we seemed to have paid for nothing.

But at least we got on with life – and can perhaps see now the bottled water debate wasn’t actually that big of a deal after all. End quote.

The bottled-water debate was stupid and pathetic. There is so much water in this country it is a retarded argument to make that we should be taxing it as some enterprising entrepreneurs bottle up a small fraction of it and export it. You could tip it all into any decent river in New Zealand and it wouldn’t even move gravel or make a difference to the flow.

Meanwhile the biggest outflow of resources is in all these reviews.


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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.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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