web analytics


Written By: - Date published: 5:10 pm, March 9th, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: , ,

So, ‘Crusher’ Collins has failed in her high profile campaign to have Barry Matthews sacked. How embarrassing, what with her staking her entire political reputation on it and all.

I doubt John Key will be particularly happy about being dragged into this whole sorry affair either. Less than two weeks ago the Herald reported:

The Prime Minister says the public should have no confidence in the Department of Corrections’ handling of parole procedures, and is backing Judith Collins’ efforts to remove its chief executive, Barry Matthews.

He won’t appreciate being made to look like a fool by one of his ministers.

UPDATE: Thanks to ‘gobsmacked’ in the comments for alerting us to this little gem from two weeks ago. Take it away, John Armstrong:

‘Collins now has too much political collateral invested in Matthews being sacked for her to pull back and accept that he stays in his job. The longer he clings on, the more embarrassing it becomes for her.

” If he doesn’t go, Collins will not only be seen as weak and a blowhard, she will be seen as losing a crucial battle and thus losing control of her portfolio. That is an image no minister can allow to take hold.’

32 comments on “Fail ”

  1. rodgeredgnome 1

    Perhaps they should sack Rennie and Matthews …….. or should we just accept that there is no accountability amongst the NZ public service.

    [lprent: Is this a new phase in your personality? The IP is extremely interesting. Anyway, I’m putting that psuedonym into anti-spam as being deliberately offensive. Find another one ]

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    What’s most embarrassing is that NZ’s chief executive appointment process is now seen to be a lackadaisical circus (or an old boys’ club, I’m not sure which), thrown into stark relief by a Minister who didn’t know (or perhaps care, or perhaps both) the limits of her own power and thus, as you correctly point out, is now in an embarrassing position.

    Barry Matthews was an utter failure when in charge of INCIS and then, somehow, managed to escape scrutiny by decamping to Western Australia to become Police Commissioner. He then exceeded his own record of arrogance and incompetence by creating an unworkable relationship with the then Minister [Michelle Roberts, ALP] and his own staff [the force effectively went on strike, handling only emergencies, and had to be ordered back to work].

    His tenure was summarised thusly by the Kennedy royal commission:

    …poor management within the service had allowed corruption to continue unimpeded…

    A single example that comes to mind is the time WA taxpayers got saddled with a $A100,000 legal bill for two police officers judged by courts to have been corrupt. The court’s findings were simply rejected by Matthews, who recommended no internal disciplining.

    Play this as an embarrasment for “Crusher” if you like, but it’s more than that. The fact that a reference check with his former employer (Roberts), his former subordinates or the independent watchdog – let alone his woeful performance while with the NZ police – should all have rung alarm bells loudly enough to prevent his appointment to Corrections makes the entire NZ public service appointment process, and the SSC, more of a laughing stock than the Minister.

    She, after all, was just inexpertly floundering around looking for a way to fix the mistakes of others.

    • lprent 2.1

      I think that point was that she was trying to “quick-fix” rather than to follow the process. Has tried to do the same in a couple of other areas. Not the right approach for a minister.

      • Chess Player 2.1.1

        But nice to know that she is well intentioned, given Matthews’s past performance, don’t you think?

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Quiz time.

    Who wrote this, a couple of weeks ago?

    “Collins now has too much political collateral invested in Matthews being sacked for her to pull back and accept that he stays in his job. The longer he clings on, the more embarrassing it becomes for her. … If he doesn’t go, Collins will not only be seen as weak and a blowhard, she will be seen as losing a crucial battle and thus losing control of her portfolio. That is an image no minister can allow to take hold.”

  4. higherstandard 4

    Rex it can be added to a long list of embarrassments which have happened over decades on both parties watches I suspect we only ever know about the tip of the iceberg – feck it’s depressing.

    • Rex Widerstrom 4.1

      Oh to be sure, to be sure…

      Though I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone as obviously incompetent as Matthews getting through the process. His failures weren’t so much an iceberg (and thus mostly hidden beneath the surface) as a flamin’ great illuminated lighthouse with “this way to the reef” blazing away in neon.

      I can quite understand a Minister wanting to be rid of an absolute numpty that’s mismanaging the department he or she is responsible for, and their frustration at finding they can’t. Since I’m amongst those who think Ministers should show a bit of accountability when their department screws up, it tends to derail that argument if said Minister has been saddled with a cretin who can’t or won’t run the department effectively.

      That doesn’t mean those lower down the food chain should be subject to political fiat (e.g. the Setchell case) but chief executives tend to answer directly to their board and chairman (Cabinet and Minister), not the HR consultant who recommended them in the first place.

      It is amusing, though, to see the excreable Christine Rankin mentioned in the same breath as Matthews in some parts, but somehow she’s pure as the driven snow because it was a nasty Labourite what done ‘er in.

      Anyway, I’m sure Matthews has a few spare banknotes out of the 375,000 we bung him each year on which to blow his nose.

  5. Janet 5

    John Key is now telling the head of Internal Affairs to sack one of his staff. Doesn’t he know that the public service is supposed to be independent of government?

    • Tigger 5.1

      No. None of them do. They’ve already made it clear to CEOs that they expect them to tow the NACT line or go.

      • Ari 5.1.1

        One “toes” the team line, not “tows” it, because as a sports metaphor, usually such lines are merely painted 😉

        • Tigger

          Or you could interpret it as CEOs needing to tow (ie. drag) the National line behind them…or that I was using the eggcorn version of the phrase…

          • Felix

            Do you mean to imply that you used “tow” deliberately – knowing it to be out of place in the phrase you were using – for some sort of ironic effect?

            *cough* bullshit *cough*

          • Tigger

            Note to self: put smiley face on any post meant to be read with irony or humour… 🙂

  6. BLiP 6

    Typical National – they just do not understand that the business of government is not, in fact, a business.

  7. stan 7

    Re Barry Matthews:
    It escapes my understanding why Labour keeps supporting this man?. Few of the Labour Parliamentarians are pausing to think about this issue before joining the stampede of leemings towards the cliff face. Matthews has led a department that has been dogged with failure and put the general public at risk because of its inability to operate properly. In any event I think the question of Matthews tenure is a misnomer given the impending privatisation of corrections.
    It is my belief that ACC will follow.
    My informants also tell me that things are looking extremely shaky for Helen at the U.N. Those who have the vote are suggesting that NZ has its turn over the years and are looking for leadership amongst candidates from an emerging Nation.
    I think Key has been very magnanimous with respect to Clark, who history will judge poorly.With the most recent Polls showing only 25% support for Labour it is time they stopped pointing fingers at others and put their house in order.At present they are facing a bleak landscape.
    Stan Blanch

    • lprent 7.1

      It isn’t so much that they support or don’t support Matthews. I have no opinion on him or his performance. What I have seen is the NACT’s getting themselves in a lather with figures that are so spurious that I immediately discount them. I suspect that is the McVicar influence (commonly pronounced as ‘Bullshit’).

      However Judith Collins I do have a distinct opinion on. She is incompetent as a minister and probably as an MP. I’ve formed that opinion since she took office, which is pretty impressive since it was about 4 months.

      Does that answer your question? At least from one labour member..

  8. Conor Roberts 8

    Remind me how many boy racer cars or chief executives has Crusher Collins crushed? Why does the media still give her this moniker?

    • Tane 8.1

      Beats me, but I think it’s hilarious. Crusher Collins – there’s a Tui billboard in that.

      • Tigger 8.1.1

        She’s crushing her own hopes and dreams of moving up the Cabinet rankings for sure…and crushing the chance of getting her hands on the Social Development portfolio…

        • Kevin Welsh

          Really enjoyed watching her squirm on the news last night. Still trying to sound tough in what is fast becoming a humiliating defeat.

          • TightyRighty

            if she is she could have only have learnt to do it by watching the labour party in the run up to the last election

  9. todd 9

    Personaly I think that Collins should just sack the useless sod and take the hit.how bloody useless do you have to be before you get the sack,its just an joke.And it makes her look stupid

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade and Agriculture Minister to attend World Economic Forum and Global Forum for Food and Agricult...
    The Government is maintaining its strong trade focus in 2023 with Trade and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visiting Europe this week to discuss the role of agricultural trade in climate change and food security, WTO reform and New Zealand agricultural innovation. Damien O’Connor will travel tomorrow to Switzerland to attend the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government funding relief for flood-affected Wairarapa farmers and growers
    The Government has extended its medium-scale classification of Cyclone Hale to the Wairarapa after assessing storm damage to the eastern coastline of the region. “We’re making up to $80,000 available to the East Coast Rural Support Trust to help farmers and growers recover from the significant damage in the region,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government provides support to flooded Tairāwhiti communities
    The Government is making an initial contribution of $150,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Tairāwhiti following ex-Tropical Cyclone Hale, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “While Cyclone Hale has caused widespread heavy rain, flooding and high winds across many parts of the North Island, Tairāwhiti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government support for flood-affected Gisborne Tairāwhiti farmers and growers
    Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor has classified this week’s Cyclone Hale that caused significant flood damage across the Tairāwhiti/Gisborne District as a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers. “We’re making up to $100,000 available to help coordinate efforts as farmers and growers recover from the heavy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago