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Losing Momentum

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, September 15th, 2010 - 32 comments
Categories: accountability, auckland supercity, john banks, local government, making shit up, national, public services, rodney hide - Tags: , , ,

Momentum Recruitment is in the gun yet again, this time for placing a woman in an accounting firm when she did not have the qualifications she claimed. The fake accountant then went on to defraud the company Momentum had placed her with of $60,000. Momentum is the same company that placed fantasist Stephen Wilce in a senior NZDF role.

Momentum is also the company that’s been placing management staff for the new Auckland Supercity Council – a problem considering Momentum had former National Party President and John Banks Campaign Advisor Michelle Boag on its board (Boag was eventually forced to withdraw from the recruitment role when this conflict of interest was revealed) and still has former National Party Prime Minister Jenny Shipley as a director. But amazingly, that’s the least of the problems with Momentum. What’s really causing a bad smell is the now repeatedly demonstrated inability of Momentum to do the very basics of its job.

Momentum’s motto is: Look no further.

As hilariously ironic as that may be, it seems we do need to start looking a lot further at Momentum’s work. Leaving aside the partisan issues of having a National Party President and a National Party Prime Minister involved in the selection of staff for the Auckland Supercity Council, it seems clear that Momentum have been taking their motto a little too literally. If this Government is at all concerned about transparency and accountability, it needs to ditch Momentum and all the appointments of Supercity staff recommended by Momentum must be reviewed.

Who knows how many other appointments have been made on the basis of bogus qualifications? And just how did such a shonkey company get such a lucrative government contract in the first place?

Note: being a National Party flunky is not an NZQA recognised qualification.

32 comments on “Losing Momentum ”

  1. Bright Red 1

    “look no further”


  2. Sean 2

    Love the reference to Dr Nick. The whole thing would be funny, except of course the potential influence this outfit has is enormous.

    I imagine that that Momentum can seem plausible during an informal executive coffee meeting. Momentum could look up to the job, at formal meetings, where people are taking minutes. But ‘Look no further’ seems so much more than a motto with this outfit. It seems to be a core business process.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    Their excuse seems to be checking references takes time !
    I think their name has been trashed so expect a quick name change soon

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    …it seems clear that Momentum have been taking their motto a little too literally.

    The interview process goes like this:
    Interviewer: Do you vote NACT?
    Interviewee: Yes
    Interviewer: Cool, you’ve got the job. No need to look any further.

    If this Government is at all concerned about transparency and accountability, it needs to ditch Momentum and all the appointments of Supercity staff recommended by Momentum must be reviewed.

    It isn’t and those appointees need to be dumped now.

    And just how did such a shonkey company get such a lucrative government contract in the first place?

    Thought that would have been fairly obvious:

    a problem considering Momentum had former National Party President and John Banks Campaign Advisor Michelle Boag on its board. Boag was eventually forced to withdraw from the recruitment role when this conflict of interest was revealed. Momentum still has former National Party Prime Minister Jenny Shipley as a director.

    NACT are corrupt.

  5. Gosman 5

    Do people have a problem with members of an organisation contracted to do work for central or local government having links to a political party or is it only having links to The National party which bothers you?

    • I’d say that’s the least of their problems Gosman, it’s also not a focus of this post, as cunningly hinted at by the statement “Leaving aside the partisan issues of …”

      The problem is more one of Momentum’s profound ineptitude or derelection of duty (at best) and the questions it raises about:

      1. appointments made of people sourced by Momentum

      2. how Momentum ever got the contract in the first place; what were the procedures followed for awarding Momentum the government contract?

      That clearer for you buddy?

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        So far you have two potential example of Momentum stuff ups. People make mistakes all the time in terms of recruitment. I’m sure if we did some digging in the past we could find example where people employed directly by the State sector have not been adequately background checked (I’m sure under a Labour led government as well as a National one). This is hardly evidence of a systematic failure yet.

        • the sprout

          potential examples ??
          what part of these cases do you think might not be stuff ups?

          while it’s true that any company can make mistakes, this is a company that’s received a lot of tax payers’ dollars.
          i would have thought it was selected by the government as a supplier because it delivers a first class, value for money service.
          i would have thought taxpayers could expect a quality service for the money we’ve spent with Momentum.

        • Loota

          So far you have two potential example of Momentum stuff ups.

          “Stuff ups”?

          Is this a new term you’ve developed for gross incompetence, negligence or possible outright fraud e.g. invoicing the Government for work done e.g. checking candidate CVs and listed referees, which was never actually carried out in reality.

          “Stuff ups”. Yeah, I’ll have to remember that.

  6. Gosman 6

    “The interview process goes like this:
    Interviewer: Do you vote NACT?
    Interviewee: Yes
    Interviewer: Cool, you’ve got the job. No need to look any further.”

    Do you have any evidence that this happened at all?

    • bbfloyd 6.1

      G.. do you have any evidence to prove that you are nothing more than an apologist for any and all things nat?

      • ryan 6.1.1

        One that that takes the thread of track and does his best to bring out the worst in comments. To put readers of visiting the site? Yup. Time to slash this goon and his IP.

  7. comedy 7

    Hasn’t the whole Momentum debacle been covered off on red alert


    • no, this is a new issue – albeit with the same dodgey company.

      another placement from Momentum found to have bogus qualifications,
      and in this instance, with a criminal persuasion

  8. Rex Widerstrom 8

    There may well be a degree of cronyism going on here… but I’d suggest there’s also considerable incompetence.

    Given that Momentum seem to get the contracts to place every high-level government comms position (and did so under Labour, I might add) as well as many in the private sector I’ve dealt with them on occasion. The most recent one followed exactly the same pattern as all the rest:

    Sometime in the evening: I send off a CV of several pages and a covering letter with additional information.

    0836: I get the usual form email saying the information has been received, that applications are still open and that I’ll be informed of the outcome after careful consideration has been given to the suitability of everyone who’s applied… and warned that this “can take up to 14 days”.

    1143: I get an email saying I’ve been rejected, giving no specific reasons (so I’m guessing it’s automated, or at least a form email, as well).

    So one of two things is happening. Either there’s a huge conspiracy afoot and, because of my critical public comment about some of the things National does, I’m blacklisted. But I’m also critical of what Labour and everyone else does from time to time.

    Or they’re feeding CVs through a software program that looks for keywords and trashing those which don’t have a high enough ratio. And since most keywords in recruitment these days are utter bullshit, and I refuse to speak bullshit, I never get past their automated gatekeeper.

    Once upon a time a recruitment consultant used to at least speed read CVs and make an initial cut… or even have a junior do it.. From your background, experience and written references they’d ascertain if you had any potential.

    Now they feed your CV through a computer program looking for how well you can mirror the kind of Newspeak they put in their own incomprehensible job ads.

    And just to make their job even easier, assuming the software accepts you, you’ve also had to submit screeds of stuff about how you meet the “selection criteria”. In my case that asks frankly insulting questions like “Extensive experience in communications” which would be obvious to anyone who bothered to take 5 minutes to read my CV, so to which I inevitably reply “refer to CV” or simply copy bits across because I’m not here to do their job for them.

    Unsurprisingly I’ve never, ever, in 30+ years of employment, got a job through an agency. And when I’m employing I won’t use an agency unless I was guaranteed human intervention at all stages of the process – which means I don’t use them at all.

    With enormous HR departments in most government departments I don’t see why recruitment isn’t done in-house in any case. Why hand an agency 10 – 15% of the first year’s salary, plus expenses, to chuck out good applicants who fail to set off the bullshit monitor?

  9. tc 9

    The incompetance is breathtaking really as the game’s quite simple:
    a) choose a recruiter that does what you want and ensure your chosen candidates are part of the ‘process’.
    b) Recruiter ensures all compliance boxes are ticked and collects it’s dosh by ensuring it all looks open and fair by having other candidates participate….ideally some minority groups being represented is nice.

    Client gets the person they wanted from the get go and recruiter picks up the fee…..only monkeys can F this up and they have…….still when your board’s had the likes of Boag/banksie it’s hardly intellectual heavyweights is it just jobs for the boyzngirlz.

    • Gosman 9.1

      Your theory would hold a liitle more weight than it’s current anorexic standard if the recruiter in question was only used when one particular party was in power. However it falls flat on it’s face because BOTH Labour and National led administrations have been in power when people have been employed for government agencies via Momentum.

      • the sprout 9.1.1

        Speaking of anorexic arguments…
        Yours is that it’s ok for National to persist with buying sub-standard services because years ago Labour used the same services too?
        I thought National were supposed to be more prudent spenders of taxpayers’ dollars?

        • Herodotus

          Should Momentum be refunding costs incurred by the tax payer for not fulfilling their contract i.e. vetting. As this James Bond character was very senior they command an extremely large fee for sourcing. Under some organisations, references do have some bearing on offering the applicant the position, and the more senior even going beyond those references specified and with permission from the applicant making contact with others beyond their list given. At worst from Momentums perspective they have severed any govt work, as they are not performing up to expectations. Sure there will always be some that get thru, but really an Olypanian that is not too difficult to check !!!
          Perhaps we all on this site should as homework prepare a CV for a civil servants position. I can not wait until Alan Bollards position comes up and applicants are requested. Imagine what some of us could come up with knowing that we will not be vetted !! 😉

        • Gosman

          “Yours is that it’s ok for National to persist with buying sub-standard services because years ago Labour used the same services too?”

          Where did I state that?

          I think you will find I am replying to the rather bizarre asertion by tc that Momentum was used because they would guarrantee the person of choice, (presumably of the government of the day), to get the job

      • bbfloyd 9.1.2

        G… when were momentums shonky screening processes exposed to the general public? are you saying that the last administration is culpable because they were unaware of the extent of the incompetence and/or political corruption within the management of said company?

        are you saying that, because it was widely known of the national party connections within senior management of momentum, then the labour govt should have assumed that they would have been unfit to do the job?

        is that not just partisan bigotry?

        i can still remember a time when politicians of all ilk were quite amenable to cooperation and open dialogue across party lines without fear of being branded “Traitors”, or being regarded as having “lost the fight”.

        indeed, the assumption of incompetence based on ones political views has been a recent development, pushed along by the very people making the most political/financial profit from the polarisation of NZ society.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    I do employment work for organisations. I don’t ask for CV’s. I have an online form I get candidates to fill in. This standardises the information and asks other employment related questions that people might not want to include in their CV: e.g. do you have a criminal conviction; do you have a clean drivers licence; do you have any health related issues that could affect your job performance?

    Candidates then have to agree that they understand that untruths discovered later could result in loss of employment. They also have to consent to having their background checked.

    This process tends to weed out individuals who could fake their credentials. Interestingly only approx half the people who start filling out the form go on to complete it.

    • Descendant Of Smith 10.1

      So tell me in your nicely automated recruitment process would someone like me who has poor eyesight and no driving license as a result ever get a foot in your door as I answered your driver’s license question and would you expect me to say yes of no to your discriminatory health related question.

      I’m quite clear I would say no to health question – unless I was applying for say a courier driver position. I’ve held positions where a car was provided and obviously never needed the car and managed quite nicely and saved the company money as well.

      But if I said no and you then found out later that I couldn’t drive the office car would I lose my employment for being untruthful?

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        The form is customised so it asks questions that are relevant to the specific job. If the job was for a courier driver then having a clean drivers licence will obviously be an important and relevant requirement. If it was a desk job that required no driving, then I wouldn’t ask about a clean drivers licence. If the job requires heavy lifting then obviously having a serious back condition could be a problem, so asking a question that relates to this aspect of health would be fine. If a back condition wasn’t going to affect job performance then I wouldn’t ask about that.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Yeah but in my experience most jobs have that they require a driver’s license when actually most of them don’t really – people only think they do and lots of people find it difficult to make sense of someone that doesn’t drive.

          I’ve managed up to 35 staff as direct reports and successfully run projects and trained staff and written and coded CBT and have a good range of skills but find regardless of these competencies processes such as you describe count me out because I don’t drive.

          I would be surprised if you could find a managers job description that doesn’t say a driver’s license is required.

          20% of NZers in my age group have a disability. I’m not surprised many would stop filling out those questions.

          The trouble is is that by weeding people out because they have a medical condition does actually often mean you miss out on some very good people. Medical condition and disability are two quite different things.

          These processes simply don’t value people with medical conditions and ensure that for many their lifetime earning capacity is reduced. The day we actively advertise for people with disabilities to join our workforce because we value the diversity they can bring to the workplace.

          In the wider picture government departments used to pick up of some of this responsibility but you know the whole private sector lean mean approach to government departments meant that those with alcohol problems, intellectual disabilities, physical infirmities and so on were left with no place left to go.

          Sure there’s some work in private enterprise but there’s not enough jobs for highly functioning people.

  11. Descendant Of Smith 11


  12. tsmithfield 12

    I am very careful to ensure that the questions I ask are directly relevant to the specific job. That goes back to a good job analysis in the first instance. This means that questions definitely do relate to important aspects of the job. I understand your frustration tho.

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