Friday, 20 March 2009


We love the NBR website - its is a must read for breaking business stories written in a snappy informative style. And they have good columnists too. David Farrar and Matthew Hooton. Trouble is David's column appears on line . Hooton's doesnt - so we went out and bought a inky one and have painstakingly typed it out . Today he is calling for a Masakari in the public service.

We couldn't agree more and have blogged on the issue many many times - In fact that blog waas one of our most popular ever.

Anyway back to Hooton.

Here is his column

The government has begun its long-awaited cuts to the central bureaucracy.

Finance Minister Bill English is reviewing departments’ lowest-priority spending, 86 jobs have gone at the Ministry for the Environment and 70 at the Tertiary Education Commission, and Labour’s Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson – the country’s leading apologist for the public service – is already fretting about policy advisors at Justice, Social Development and the National Library.

The cuts are long overdue.

So indulgently did Labour fatten the public service that Mr Robertson’s electorate notoriously has the highest average income in the country and office space in the capital costs more than in Auckland.

Worryingly, though, National is talking of a mere razor gang when wholesale butchery is required. It should put away its Gillette Mach 3 and wield a masakari. Whole departments should be abolished.

Case Study: Tourism

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) is the government agency that promotes New Zealand globally. Compared with its competitors in Australia and elsewhere, it operates on a lean budget of just $69 million annually.

In the ten years since then Tourism Minister Lockwood Smith, TNZ chairman Peter Allport and chief executive George Hickton launched their “100% Pure” marketing strategy, annual tourist numbers have leapt 52% to 2.4 million, average length of stay is up 24% and earnings are now $5.9 billion, up a massive 53%.

Taxpayers might think that a junior Treasury analyst could work out that TNZ does a good job, and that a clerk at the Office of the Auditor General could check no one’s hand was in the till, but you would be wrong.

In fact, TNZ is monitored and evaluated by its board, its auditors and minister; by the Treasury, the State Services Commission and the Auditor-General; by the ministries of Women’s Affairs, Maori Development (TPK), Pacific Island Affairs and Ethnic Affairs; by a select committee of Parliament; and of course by the industry itself, including the Tourism Industry Association, the airlines, the Inbound Tour Operators Council, the Hospitality Association, the Motel Association, Regional Tourism Organisations and by dozens of tourism reporters and publications around the country.

This bureaucracy was not enough for Labour. In 2002, it set up a new Ministry of Tourism to advise the minister on “board appointments, roles and functions” and oversee TNZ’s “overall contribution to the government's policy objectives.” The ministry has 24 full-time staff and an annual budget of $7 million, more than 10% of all the money TNZ has to do the real work of getting tourists to New Zealand.

As a result, the levels of accountability from the person who places advertisements in the People’s Daily now run through TNZ’s Shanghai office, to the general manager consumer marketing, to the chief executive, to the board, and now to the ministry, and on to the minister, currently none other than the prime minister himself – all overseen by at least seven other government agencies. Everyone in this process, except perhaps the person who places the ads, earns over $100,000 a year.

Were the Ministry of Tourism simply abolished, and TNZ left to get on with the job, overseen by “just” seven other government agencies, the taxpayer would save $21 million over the next three years, and no one would notice any difference.

The Ministry of Tourism is far from being the worst case. Take the masakari to the corporate welfare programmes of the Ministry for Economic Development and NZ Trade and Enterprise; abolish the pointless Tertiary Education, Families and Electricity commissions; simplify the Emissions Trading Scheme so it won’t cost tens of millions to administer; slash the “policy advice streams” of TPK, Youth Development, Women’s Affairs and so forth, and you’ve saved a billion dollars before breakfast.

Not a single doctor, nurse, teacher, police officer, solider or overseas marketing clerk would be affected. There could even be money left over for pay rises.

Yip Hooton is on the money but we think he is being wimpy though which is unusual. He needs to harden up.

We reckon that a big shiny sharp edged Masakari is not the right tool for the job.

This is really whats needed ...

1 comment:

adamsmith1922 said...

have you not got a scanner?