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Ministry of National Significance?

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 pm, March 13th, 2012 - 16 comments
Categories: exports, Mining, same old national, Steven Joyce, trade - Tags:

The trailers for John Key’s Thursday speech are calling it for a ” new super-Ministry” under the command of Steven Joyce. It appears to be a merger for the Ministry of Economic Development, a submergence for the Department of Labour, and the same old same old reshuffling of the deckchairs for the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

More coherence in these Ministries is long overdue. But that’s not the major problem. Since the abortive attempt by Labour in 1999 to set up Industry New Zealand, which was overtaken by the Ministry of Commerce renamed the Ministry of Economic Development but with the same old policy set, New Zealand’s problem has remained the same – a narrowly based economy still reliant on the dogmas of the 1970’s and still finding it hard to pay its way in the world. Rerunning asset sales in the name of paying down debt, the same Treasury argument David Caygill, Ruth Richardson  and Richard Prebble ran in the late 1980’s.

Merger isn’t the issue – the policy direction is. If the new super-Ministry just becomes focussed on roads of national significance, mines of national significance, dairy farms of national significance, and oil wells of national significance it will be another waste of time reshuffle of which we have had altogether too many in the last twenty years. If it becomes genuinely high quality export focussed, then it may prove worthwhile.

It is also ironic that Steven Joyce is now signalling a reduction in the number of Industry Training Organisations. When they were first set up in the 1990’s, Bill Birch would not hear of the argument put forward by the unions and employers in the engineering industry that they should be genuinely industry-based and limited to 12 or so as the Australians had done. Once again National is re-inventing the wheel; at least this time it looks like it might be round.

16 comments on “Ministry of National Significance? ”

  1. Populuxe1 1

    If it accomplished as much as Japan’s MITI did, I’d be all for it

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      Japan got 30,000 temporary houses built within 3-4 months of their tsunami.

      What have we built in Christchurch so far? I guess you are an optimist, that’s something at least.

      • Populuxe1 1.1.1

        I didn’t say that I thought for a minute it would, you pathetic Dickens caricature (I dub thee Mr Grimjoy Hindsight, who has Schadenfreude where others have warm blood). I’m not going to have this conversation again because (a) I actually have to live in Christchurch, unlike you; (b) I am well aware (again, I actually live in the hellhole, miles from your comfortable armchair) that the NACTS are shit and the Govt response has been fucking hopeless; and (c) you are a dick.

      • David H 1.1.2

        I did hear that they got some draughty caravans, that they wanted to rent out at extortionist rates. Whilst still expecting said new caravanner’s to pay their mortgage /rates as well.

  2. muzza 2

    Supercongress comes to mind…The fewer hands the power is in the easier it is to……..

  3. Busy arranging the deckchairs for lunchtime?

  4. David Cunliffe 4

    Form follows function…

    Function follows strategy…

    But back in the real world, the National Party has a 120 point laundry list.

    Meanwhile Treasury and MED differ wildly on the proper role of government in stimulating growth.

    I don’t have high hopes for a new dawn from John Key on Thursday.

    • Ad 4.1

      David, are you ready to release your own economic development strategy as soon as Key announces that MED, DOL and Science and Innovation are merging? Every bureaucrat in Wellington would turn their ears to you.

      Because that is the moment to show that they don’t have an economic development policy other than to drive price and regulation and collective purpose through the floor.

      What is YOUR version of the proper role of government in stimulating growth?

      Alternatively you could wait for Key to crush Shearer (again) on Thursday’s duel of the speeches, and your Ec Dev policy will have to wait for some other ripe moment, like the re-launch of the NZ Institute after merger with the Business Round Table.

      Go for it man.

    • Bored 4.2

      David, you wont find any original thought out there in Treasury land. My sincerest hope is that if you are fortunate enough to ever become Minister that you completely scrap the bastards.

      Also as an aside start thinking about solid state economics based upon scarcity, particularly energy: no one seems to be getting the picture that growth as we know it is joining the dinosaurs.

    • insider 4.3

      Not only the form but the name should follow function. MED always struck me as a mish mash ministry that should be demerged into the regulation and administration part and the more future focussed creative part, not have more stuff sucked into it. Making it too big creates the worry of loss of focus. Look at the mix of roles that the Tourism, Events and Consumer Affairs branch does

      Tourism policy
      Tourism research and evaluation
      Nga Haerenga The New Zealand Cycle Trail
      Major events
      Rugby World Cup
      Consumer policy
      Consumer information (issues and scams)
      Trade measurement
      Product safety

      What have the last four items got to do with the former?

  5. Jan 5

    Policy yes and basic fitness for purpose. Given that the stated objective of some of the consolidation is to deliver services using technology let’s hope that the new Ministry is well supplied with skills, resources and competence that it doesn’t lose all it’s websites for days at a time including services for which there is no analogue option.

    Oh it did already?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/5700891/Ministry-may-seek-compensation-for-outage

  6. Pete 6

    On the bright side, it will give the PSA greater power in negotiating a collective agreement. Prolonged industrial action in an organisation that size would certainly be effective. The MED is reputed to have one of the best collective agreements in the public service. I’m sure the new components of the super-ministry will be eager to attain those terms.

  7. Jackal 7

    How they can call anything Steven Joyce has a hand in super is beyond me.

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