Friday, February 3, 2012
Karl du Fresne: Memo to Bill English - perhaps you could start here
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.
at 11:05 PM