If you thought there was something sick about the public service, it turns out you probably were right

August 21, 2011

It looks like our public servants are a bunch of skivers, unless – of course – you are a leftie tosser and maintain they are stressed and overworked.

Take your pick.

Whether or not they are as healthy as workers in the private sector may well be arguable, but they are much more likely to take time off when they are (or they profess to be) sick.

The SST tells us the difference in a report today –

Public servants averaged 7.7 sick days each last year, compared with 5.3 days for workers in the private sector.

These figures apparently come from The National Employers’ wage and salary survey, based on interviews of more than 39,000 employees.

Read the rest of this entry »


Spending cuts? Let’s start by shedding the Ministry for Supporting Sheilas (and get them a bra)

March 30, 2011

Mrs Grumble wants a car - so what's on your missus's nice-to-have list?.

Alf has prepared a letter to his mate Bill English to help him in his quest to squeeze public spending.

This follows the news media’s highlighting Bill’s warning in a speech yesterday that we are in for years of austerity measures.

English said the Government’s decision to rein in new spending in this year’s Budget would mean some services that were ”nice-to-have” but not essential would be axed.

He also made clear that the Government intended to continue the tight grip on public finances after the state coffers returned to a ”meaningful surplus” in 2015/16 as it looked to repay mounting debt and resume payments into the superannuation fund.

”That means public spending restraint is no temporary aberration. It is effectively permanent,” English told the Institute of Public Administration this morning.

English also said plans were afoot to reduce the size of the public sector, including merging more agencies or departments.

Alf accordingly drafted his letter to alert Bill to the money-saving potential from scrapping the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which (in Alf’s opinion) does not even rate as something that’s nice to have.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Vikings have gone soft but the smart ones know how to keep sheilas in their place

February 22, 2011

But the best of them do it better in the bedroom than the boardroom.

Alf has been reading a fascinating report about a mob of sheilas known among Norwegian cynics as the “golden skirts”.

They are an elite group of 70 women in the Scandinavian nation who occupy more than 300 seats on corporate boards.

An article in The Observer says it’s equality, of a sort, but an imperfect kind of diversity.

It has come about because of silly laws that have set a quota for women, in defiance of Alf’s firm belief that business is for blokes; a sheila’s place is at home cooking the meals, doing the dishes and the washing, and so on.

Alf admires a good woman with prowess in the bedroom.

But in the boardroom – nah.

The Vikings – once feared as practitioners of rape and pillage – have lost a lot of brownie points for going soft on this one.

Read the rest of this entry »


Could Rokx be rolled by a fluency fuss?

November 21, 2009

There’s some bemusing stuff about a bit of workplace how’s-your-father at the Maori Language Commission in the The Dom-Post today.

A dispute between the chief executive of the Maori Language Commission and her staff has prompted the board to order an investigation.

The independent inquiry, conducted by Sir Wira Gardiner, was begun after some staff wrote to the board expressing concerns about Huhana Rokx’s management style.

Management style? Alf would be much more concerned about hiring someone with the curious name Rokx for a job in an agency charged with promoting the Maori language.

But what does he know about these things, eh?

Well, he can tell you (based on his reading of the Dom-Post) that –

Commission chairman Erima Henare has been acting chief executive since November 10, when the board appointed Sir Wira.

Both Mr Henare, who earned $58,150 from the board for the year ended June 2008, and Ms Rokx declined to comment personally about the dispute yesterday.

What’s more, Henare has hired Wellington public relations consultant Chris Wikaira to do any talking on the issue and management and staff have been told not to speak to the media. All media inquiries should be made through Wikaira.

But papers obtained by The Dominion Post claim staff members fluent in the Maori language use this ability to “show superiority” over their colleagues.

There have been at least two meetings between management and staff this year aimed at resolving the in-house problems.

One employee noted that, after one of these meetings, staff did not feel trusted and found their work environment suffocating.

Is that it?

Is it all about a pecking order where your position is influenced by your fluency in the language the commission is promoting?

Why should this be a matter of concern?

If you don’t speak Maori, or speak it poorly, you wouldn’t want to work there anyway, surely.

Alf would like to think the buggers who know a cow has four tits on its udder, and that you don’t milk bulls, and that wool comes from sheep could feel superior to those who don’t in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Likewise, knowledge of economics should push you higher up the perch at The Treasury.

Blokes are unlikely to prosper at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

And so on.

Mind you, we run into problems with this line of thinking when we get to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Or do we?

Putting the outfit in the hands of a bunch of kids is unlikely to do much mischief because Alf doesn’t see it serving any useful purpose anyway.