Bigger is better.
Nobody puts it as baldly as that.
But that’s what drove the formation of Fonterra. It also drove the merging of four existing government agencies to create the new Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry.
This made Steven Joyce a genuine Pooh-bah, our Lord High Everything.
Some people wail about lots of civil servants being made redundant or something, which will swell the dole queues.
To the contrary, this will free them to wait patiently for proper jobs in the private sector, because – as we all know – governments don’t create jobs, private enterprise does.
On the other hand, taxpayers will be grateful for the savings we are generating by doing things more efficiently.
We must wait for further details. As the Herald advised its readers –
No numbers have yet been put on the likely savings or job losses, which will become clear after a “due diligence” process due to be completed next month.
But the Herald foresaw lots of civil servants being grateful to the government for putting them on the path to gainful employment instead of bludging off the state as pen-pushing time-serving bureaucrats.
Hundreds more state sector jobs are set for Prime Minister John Key’s sword with the creation of a super ministry merging four existing agencies.
What’s good for the public service is good for local government.
Local Government Nick Smith was smart enough to fudge things a bit with his media statement.
He made great use of weasel words (as he often does) .
The ‘Better Local Government’ reforms would
… provide clarity around the role of councils, stronger governance, improved efficiency and more responsible financial management said Local Government Minister Nick Smith.
“These reforms are part of the Government’s broader programme for building a more productive, competitive economy and better public services,” Dr Smith says.
“The reforms will help keep rates affordable and debt at prudent levels by focusing councils on their core roles, setting clear fiscal responsibility requirements and giving councils more tools to better manage costs. The package rebalances the changes made in 2002 that have seen average rates increase by 7 percent per annum and council debt quadruple from $2 billion to
“The ‘Better Local Government’ reforms include eight specific initiatives; the first four will be introduced to Parliament in May and be passed in September. They will refocus the purpose of local government, introduce fiscal responsibility requirements, strengthen council governance provisions and streamline council reorganisation procedures.”
Streamlining council reorganisation procedures is the most important of those objectives, in Alf’s book.
A booklet entitled “Better Local Government”, telling us all about the Government’s wonderful plans, gives us a bit more more information on the bigger is better thing.
There is the potential to achieve efficiencies and better decision making through structural reforms of councils in
some parts of New Zealand. The experience of the reforms in Auckland has been a reduction of 2000 staff with no
drop in service standards or levels of infrastructure investment, and savings of $140 million in its first year.
But the fellers who are doing the work on this say the current reorganisation process in the Local Government Act 2002 is lengthy, complex and the chances of success are low.
Of the 11 proposals considered under the existing provisions only one boundary change and one abolition proposal have been successful.
Naturally, we have got to change things to help people who obviously don’t know what’s good for them.
And while we are on this topic, let’s become bold.
The logic behind the idea of realising potential to achieve efficiencies and better decision-making makes the way forward all too obvious.
If bigger is better, then massive must be better than bigger.
Whoa. Let’s think about that for a mo’.
Yep. That’s it.
It’s all about size (much the same as it is with us blokes and our prowess in the rumpy-pumpy department).
So why not a mega-merger that brings all local authorities together in one Ultra-super Council?
Lots more publicly paid workers in the queue waiting for proper jobs, lots more savings, we would no longer need a Local Government Commission…
And more mayors would be put out to pasture than you would get from one of those round-ups of wild horses in the Kaimanawas.