Michael Bay might be the bloke we need to transform our public service (and make it bleed)

March 3, 2012

Stripping our public service to bare essentials is not so easy.


The public service has been doing a lot of yelping for an outfit that has shed bugger-all blood.

One of the top manadarins has revealed that the squeeze on state service backroom functions has saved just $20 million in two years.

Or $10 million a year.

Let’s stack that alongside soccer celebrity David Beckham’s earnings of $US40 million last year…

The story about the scant savings made so far in the Government’s assault on public service profligacy is told at Stuff today –

The Government has shed more than 2500 jobs in the past three years and ordered chief executives to shave their IT and human resources bills as part of a drastic overhaul of the public service.

But despite ambitious plans to save $1billion over three years, a `benchmarking’ report to be published next week will show 31 agencies and departments have managed to reduce spending by just $20m.

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Do we really want more of this taxing business of trying to talk to IRD people?

February 14, 2012

Dunno if The Boss has paid his taxes on line recently.

Mrs Grumble gave it a go, a week or so ago.

Her bank statement shows the transaction was successful and the money finished up in the hands of the Government, no doubt to help provide domestic purposes benefits for fecund females with a greater urge to fornicate than find jobs.

She has received two letters from IRD since then.

They remind her that her payment is now overdue.

Phoning the IRD to try to sort things out resulted in her being advised about the advantages of enrolling in voice ID .

Then she had to answer questions put to her by a recorded voice.

It’s a tiresome and vexing procedure.

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Super City poobahs are monkeying with the councillors – but who has the balls to publicly say so?

March 29, 2011

Maybe they would make great Super City councillors.

Alf is always suspicious of politicians who make a fuss anonymously rather than stand up to be counted when they go out to do battle on behalf of those who pay their wages.

He is suspicious of public service poobahs, too, whether they work for central government or local government.

The buggers are much too inclined to operate under the cover of secrecy.

Hence he is not surprised to hear that senior officers in the Super Slum City are being accused of holding back information from Auckland councillors to stifle public debate on extra funding for the Rugby World Cup.

But he is disappointed to learn that the bugger who claims to be intent on flushing out this nonsense is operating under cover, too.

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Great – a gong for the wind, but those lesser awards for policy wonks leave a sour taste

December 31, 2009

Mrs Grumble is keeping out of Alf’s way today, as she usually does when the new year and birthday honours lists are published.

She knows full well that Alf will be grouchy for a day or two because he has been overlooked yet again for a title.

He will be especially grouchy this time, because one of the big gongs has gone to Helen Clark.

Alf bitterly recalls that knighthoods and damehoods – some of the plums for being part of the glorious British Commonwealth of Nations – were scrapped under her leadership.

Now she has been awarded the country’s highest honour, membership of the Order of New Zealand, in the New Year Honours announced this morning.

The former prime minister becomes the 17th member of an order that can have no more than 20 living New Zealanders as members at any time.

Yesterday, taking a break from her schedule as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, she looked every bit a former Labour Party leader, dressed in a red jacket at the Waihi Beach home of her parents, Margaret and George.

She said the award came as a surprise. “I really didn’t expect it. But the reality is that, generally, people from previous administrations have been recognised, so I guess the same traditions apply. Perhaps it was the timing of it.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We Nats have spent the past decade trying to tip her and her gaggle of leftie social engineers out of office, complaining all the while about how they are botching things and making New Zealand a place that is encouraging emigration.

Now we reward her.

And get this…

The honour’s citation simply says, “For services to New Zealand”.

For what?

That’s a bit like Alf having to pay his builder “for services rendered,” even though the clumsy bugger punctured a water pipe and the plumber had to be hired to put things right.

Then there are those lesser gongs that have been doled out to buggers who – so far as Alf can see – have done nothing much more than their jobs as public servants.

There’s nothing personal in the examples Alf cites here. It’s just that they are blokes who have been quietly getting on their work as bureaucrats.

Example number one: Timothy Charles Robert Horner, Otaki, for services to the New Zealand Customs Service.

Horner – Alf understands – is or was the Customs Service Group Manager Policy. A policy wonk, in other words.

He has managed Customs’ policy work since his appointment in 1998, leading a gang of wonks who provide advice to the Government and the Minister of Customs on border management issues, including international trade and international relations.

In effect, he has been rewarded for a decade of wonking.

And before that?

He joined Customs from the Department of Internal Affairs where he served for 20 years, initially as a manager in the Local Government division, and later as the Department’s Policy Manager for Gaming, Citizenship and Heritage issues.

Betcha his pants have a real shiny patch around the bum.

Then there’s an award to one Alan Bryan Kerr, of Wellington, for services to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

He’s another policy wonk.

Alf recalls a written question being put to Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton in 2007, back in the days when our capital city was Helengrad.

The question was put by our David Carter – a bloke who is worthy of an honour – who wanted to know who were the members of the Primary Industries Summit Steering Group.

The list of names supplied in reply included that of Alan Kerr (Director, International Policy, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)…

On the other hand, Alf applauds the knighthood awarded to Arthur Douglas Myers, CBE, of London, for services to business and the community.

Myers was a beer baron, the boss of Lion Nathan.

His firm makes Steinlager, which makes Alf merry, if consumed in sufficient quantities. It also makes him burp.

Hence Myers can be said to have been honoured for his contribution to Alf’s belching – a gong for the wind.


Te reo and the dubious pathway to a fatal faltering

July 29, 2009

The bloody bureaucrats in Defence have found a neat way of doubling their workload to absolutely no productive purpose, except – perhaps – that doubling the size of media statements will increase the demand for paper.

That will be great for the forestry bits of the Maori economy.

The doubling of the workload – if this idea has caught on elsewhere in the public service – will also call for more staff, because it is being effected by publishing media statements first in te reo (so the vast bulk of us don’t understand a bloody word of it), and then in English.

It’s a spectacular squandering of public money for the highly dubious purpose of marking Maori Language Week.
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Public servants on a slimming regime

February 18, 2009

Finance Minister Bill English today announced he will deliver the 2009/10 Budget on May 28.

BustedBlonde , meanwhile, was delighting her readers at Roarprawn with an account of public servants having to lop big bucks from departmental spending plans and tailor their work (and play) habits accordingly.

It would be “a responsible Budget,” English said in a media statement (silly, really – would anyone expect him to signal an irresponsible budget?).

There was further rhetoric of the sort Finance Ministers can’t resist when grand-standing about their Budgets.
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Correcting the faults in Corrections

February 17, 2009

So whose neck next goes on the block?

If you’re a betting person, the head of the Corrections Department wouldn’t be a wild wager.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins has asked the State Services Commissioner to establish who is accountable for serious failings identified by the Auditor-General’s report into the management of offenders on parole.
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