Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Heather du Plessis-Allan: NZ deserves Luxon's style of performance management

I have got nothing bad to say about Chris Luxon demoting Melissa Lee and Penny Simmonds today.

This is exactly the kind of performance management that the country deserves, don't you think?

Obviously on a human level, I feel sorry for both of those ministers because this will be humiliating - but don’t tell me this wasn’t deserved.

Melissa Lee has done an appalling job of looking like she knows what she’s doing with media, with senior commentators going on the radio to say - "She doesn't know what she's doing."

And Penny Simmonds oversaw one of the biggest stuff ups for the Government, with the cutting of disability-related funding.

So Melissa Lee's been stripped of the media portfolio and kicked out of Cabinet and Penny Simmonds has lost the disability portfolio - and she was already a minister outside of Cabinet.

Now this does two things: 

Firstly, it signals to voters that are there are standards in this Cabinet and incompetence will not be tolerated. That is a great signal to send to voters, it will likely lift the public regard of Cabinet.

Secondly, it sends a very important message to other ministers that if you stuff up in public, this will happen to you. Luxon's made it clear we're going to see more of this as the Government goes along, and there is nothing like the threat of losing a job to make someone pull their socks up.

What's happened today will shock a lot of people, because over the last few years we've got used to Prime Minsters just putting up with their ministers doing a bad job or behaving badly in public.

Kiri Allan, Phil Twyford, Michael Wood, Clare Curran, even Nanaia Mahuta - the Foreign Minister who didn't like international travel.

It took forever for Hipkins or Ardern to demote the under-performers, and they suffered for it - public opinion of them was tainted.

That is clearly not how Chris Luxon operates, and it’s a good thing.

Because who doesn’t want performance from the people that we pay to run the country?

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show HERE - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Excuse me.
Regrettable but minor issues.
( Except the MSM: is Luxon hoping for better press if he is nice to the MSM? Even he is not this naive. )

Luxon is avoiding the BIG ISSUE: stopping the CG/HP agenda. So far, zero results. If he dares to stop a referendum - he will be toast.

Anonymous said...

New Zealand's politicians are the best money can buy.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this was the kind of performance management the country deserves. Melissa Lee was stuck in a bind and demoting her isn't going to make it easier for Paul Goldsmith to succeed in this area.

She should've been given a different role but remained within cabinet so it wasn't perceived as a demotion. Doing things this way has given the media the pound of flesh they were looking for.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Luxon's approach to Melissa Lee. He has given the media their pound of flesh and in doing so it makes it more difficult for Paul Goldsmith to survive if nothing changes in the portfolio. The best approach would've been to share the role with Paul Goldsmith and keep her within cabinet for now.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, the last Labor government only had under-performers to pick from.

Ross said...

My guess is Luxon wants to give the media some sort of assistance, probably via a third party so it doesn't look like the Government is helping out.

Melissa Lee objected to that so she had to be taken out of the way (ie outside Cabinet) and Goldsmith will be a good boy and do what he is told.

If I am correct, I congratulate Melissa Lee for standing her ground.

robert Arthur said...

Melissa seemed among the more intelligent contributors to Broadcasting select committees. Anyone who can single handed solve the present problem will indeed be a genius. Presumably the skill lacking is coordinating the contributions if any of fellow politicians. Luxon's manner may appeal to a few but he has to retain confidence of fellow mps and satisfy the majority public not
now accustomed to bully boys. A pity he cannot be so decisive about countering maori domination.