Friday, February 3, 2012

Karl du Fresne: Memo to Bill English - perhaps you could start here

The Government insists that it’s trimming the flab from the public service, yet I keep seeing advertisements for pseudo-jobs such as “Chief Advisor, Maori Development” for the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

It was a wordy, long-winded ad but after reading it I had little idea what the job actually entailed. This is par for the course with executive positions these days, in the private as well as the public sector. The ad was written in impenetrable HR-speak, with liberal use of vague phrases such as “focused strategies and policies” and “building connections throughout New Zealand’s science and innovation systems”.

Here’s a sample: “The Chief Maori Advisor [note the capital letters] will be the visible champion within the organisation to ensure that MSI gives priority to the Vision Matauranga policy, including through cross-government work in support of Maori economic development. The role will provide iwi with a primary point of contact and also support the CE and Senior Management [those capitals again] team by providing appropriate advice and cultural support for all significant engagements with Maori.”

It finished with a flourish, advising that the successful applicant would have a genuine opportunity [as opposed to a fake one?] “to make a difference to Maoridom by linking, influencing and driving economic development through research and development”.

I’m suspicious of flatulent language like this because it can mean anything and nothing. The description of the position advertised is so vague that I concluded it’s just another stab at feel-good bicultural tokenism. If a vacancy can’t be described in words that actually mean something, it’s probably not worth filling.

If Bill English is really determined to cut out wastage and feather-bedding in the public sector, perhaps he could start here.

3 comments:

Brian said...

I for one, do not believe that the present Government has any intention to reduce the Public Service to its previous numbers before the Clark Government came to power!
Why? The most simple and most effective way for National to lose the next election would be to carry out this election promise.

So National will "invent" a new quango, new State bodies to absorb those State Servants who are made redundant, and are still of workable age.

Bureaucracy in New Zealand is our greatest enemy, and the politicians use it as a cushion against criticism, and continuing Governmental rampant expenditure.

Look at the greatest bureaucracies in this world. The United Nations (we have never been told the actual annual cost to fund this body..and never will be) The E.U. is another such organisation, which self perpetuates itself; and now finds it has to change or to avoid such a drastic measure, find new ways to tax its "subjects".
These types of "fungi" rot, cling and spread disease onto us all; and are one of the principal causes of the financial decline in the real world's economic activity.
The question we must ask ourselves is why? Why we the people, accept that our public service should be an ever increasing item and cost upon the taxpayer?
A good deal less absurd legislation, and a dose of common sense into Government might see us all benefit.
Brian

Anonymous said...

I was reading something about Singapore's public service recently. Apparently they run on very few, very highly paid staff, with very high accountability. Any sign of nonsense and you're replaced.
Even C. Northcote Parkinson didn't envisage the extent to which bureaucratic bloat has gone in NZ today. It is pure self-parody; it would be impossible to write SATIRE that surpassed it. Grumpy old Karl is right.
- PhilBest

Anonymous said...

How can Government spend 2 million dollars on a plastic whaka for the Rugby cup, at the same time there is a public appeal to buy a necessary microscope for the Burns Surgical Unit at Middlemore Hospital?
Why do we allow fijian laboureres into our country on a tremporary basis to pick fruit when there are people without a job getting taxpayers money.
If people are short of jobs why not spped up the road works by working double shifts? If the Auckland Harbour Bridge can have maintenance done at night, why not do capital works at night, less costs as machinery hire would not stand idle for 16 hiurs per day? No penal rates for night shift these days?
How much money is being paid to people like Jenny Shipley as a "don't know what" in the Christchurch earthquake outfit, and what are her qualifications.