National/Act – good at breaking public services

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, June 4th, 2024 - 41 comments
Categories: Economy, national/act government, Politics, same old national, welfare - Tags: ,

Today is my 65th birthday. So I’m trying to check out a PDF letter on MyMSD which probably has some details about superannuation. Login using RealMe, go to the letters and click and get ERR_CONNECTION_RESET consistently.

Try to report this using the online system and get

Website not available
Sorry, this website is not currently available.

Please make a note of your support ID number if you need to get in touch with us about this.

Your support ID is: 6371240326365614833

Ummm. Go to look for outages and get a perfectly formed (/sarc) MyMSD site outage page

Yep, copyright 2024 to the National/Act government! I guess that is what you get when the numpties elect technically illiterate psuedo-managers to try to run a government .

They cost-cut their way to driving off their technically competent and causing failed services, all while artificially accentuating a recession. It all sounds so familiar….

41 comments on “National/Act – good at breaking public services ”

  1. lprent 1

    Oops I forgot to mention the contributions of NZFirst. But lets not. Seems like corruption and incompetence issues should be self-correcting.

    Eventually Winston will find time to deal with them… 🙂

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.1

      Could be they go in ever decreasing circles…finally disappearing into a black hole. Winston's end point : ) ?

      Oh also..Happy Birthday ! The Standard is a testament to you and your determination. Good stuff !

  2. weka 2

    It's going to be a long three years.

    That support ID # would be fun in a phone call.

    • lprent 2.1

      Yeah.

      BTW: for your entertainment. This was the support message I was trying to send

      When I'm on https://my.msd.govt.nz/letters, none of the correspondence opens up in my browser. Which is Chrome running on ubuntu. I consistently get a ERR_CONNECTION_RESET.

      This is running on a direct connection via ethernet to fibre with no proxy servers nor outgoing firewall restrictions.

      I don't get this on any other sites for PDFs or much else. I suspect it may have to do with the HTML tag and specifically with the handling of the rel attribute on the server. Either that or a public service site is broken or down.

      <a class="Grid test-letterId1362174344" href="/rest/letters/1362174344" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">
      ….
      </a>

      It looks like the server is refusing the connection. It does the same on chrome on android, firefox on linux.

      Plus I just received a popup saying that I have exceeded the daily limit of letter views (grrr)

      FYI: I login under RealMe. I'm also computer programmer by profession. This particular feature is completely inadequate.

      I'll wander down to the local MSD and get them to print it out the new letter. Which I am guessing is about my super. I turn 65 today.

      Cheers
      Lynn

      Just to make it more fun I received this on submitting this. Looks like part of the site is down.

      Website not available
      Sorry, this website is not currently available.

      Please make a note of your support ID number if you need to get in touch with us about this.

      Your support ID is: 6371240326365614833

      • mac1 2.1.1

        Good ID number. There are 9 quintillion possible 19 digit numbers, so digital safety should be assured!

        6,371,240,326,365,614,833

        6 quintillion, three hundred and seventy one quadrillion, two hundred and forty trillion, three hundred and twenty six billion, three hundred and sixty five million, six hundred and fourteen thousand, eight hundred and thirty three.

        That's over 3 million times the number of galaxies in the known universe, but smaller than the 24 digit number of stars in the universe.

        That's a seriously big number, probably designed to remind us of our relative importance in the scheme of things…….. and where we sit in the Ministry's priorities.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          They're doing better than I thought.

          Work and income support got back and apparently received the form for that enormous number. They quoted it back to me.

          They are aware of a problem opening letters. I sent back the system details that they requested. But I only checked three browsers on two systems because of their weird letter reading lockout.

  3. fender 3

    Happy birthday!

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    I’d echo PsyclingLeft.Always and fender–happy B-day–you have certainly stuck in there and put up with all us “fools” and the occasional intellectually competent ones for a few years now.

    I found MSD ok at first, been a Gold Carder for two years. They accepted digital documentation and identity, which I double checked, as they are classic document “losers”. I discovered that over the years with beneficiary advocacy and others experiences.

    But…the online presence is total crap at the moment. Details and logins just do not stick.

    • lprent 4.1

      I just finished a e-mail essentially asking why I and my partner should fill out 16 page form for me to get a community services card, provide all of the documentation again that we have already provided for me to get job-seeker and then super.

      While I'm currently still unemployed (bloody national escalating recession), my current holiday may or may not last long. Filing in a 16 page document takes time, especially if I have to coerce her filling in the same information that she did in April. And I can better use my time educating myself and job-hunting.

      Also I'd need a really damn good reason to ask my partner to fill out all of the same material again. She and her partner at the time got heavily traumatised by WINS/MSD in the 1990s – especially with their habit of regularly 'losing' his documentation each year resulting in him falling off his meds and half starving.

      I only had to see what my sister had to put up with them when her marriage disintegrated and she was trying to raise two under-5s whilst trying to retrain for a job-market after they could go to school. Waiting around for meaningless appointments that repeated what she said last time – but meant that she usually had problems with transport and kids.

      Anyway I can't see the legislation or regulation on the community services form that requires me or my partner to do this all this yet again. The link provided on the form claims that the legislative framework is there, but neither lists them nor has any relevant links to it. What is on the MSD site is assertion waffle with no backing or substance.

      FFS even having the benefits of having the card aren't actually enumerated. Just waffled.

      https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/community-services-card.html

      • SPC 4.1.1

        There are two types of Gold Card, one with and one without CSC.

        CSC provides subsidy for health appointment costs, but if your income is above a certain amount you will not qualify for it.

        • lprent 4.1.1.1

          Good to know, also that there were two types was not especially visible when I was reading up on it.

          I'm in a kind of weird position right now. Last financial year I had a lot of income before being made redundant at the company which abruptly shuttered in Jan. It included 2 months notice paid out and about 5-6 weeks of holiday pay.

          The new system at the IRD wound up automatically giving me a $2,733 tax refund a few weeks ago for a slight over payment on PAYE/PIR taxes. Which was a pittance over $50+k of tax (and one that I'd usually forego collecting).

          But there is a recession and a lot of uncertainty about our new government, so job-hunting is similar to the GFC in 2009 and worsened by my advancing age. FFS I was barely 50 in 2009. So right now I have absolutely no idea if and when I'll get a job.

          It'd be easy enough to get one in Aussie, but my partner has roots here and so do I. Hard to see my dad in the mid-NI monthly if I head to Sydney or Perth. Hard for her to watch her nieces grow up,

          So right now getting $850 odd per fortnight on super plus kiwisaver as backup is adequate, even in Auckland, since the housing is paid off. That would afford me more time on here and a chance to finally start seriously craft open source code and some utilities and applications I have been considering for literally decades.

          On the other hand, I'd probably get a bit bored at home, and I'd like a bit more financial backup for an extended old age. My dad is 20 years older and showing few signs of slowing down a lot….. My partner is 16 years younger. Ummm.

          Makes it hard to decide how to what to do. More importantly what I should try to qualify for.

      • Kay 4.1.2

        Welcome to our world, Lynn. I just had a yearly 'Conformation of circumstances' arrive in the mail today. Hard copy, that I have to MAIL myself back to Auckland. No self-addressed prepay envelope enclosed, and not even a Freepost address! Yes, I have to find myself an envelope that will fit it, and fork out for the postage, just so they don't stop my payments angry

        This is the same outfit that 'encourages' us to do everything online, so they can employ fewer frontline workers. While this has been a major relief for me for the routine stuff, ie not having to deal with a real person every 3 months, they still haven't got their shit together enough to make routine forms like this online. If I lived rurally, or had mobility problems that made even getting to the increasingly rare post box difficult, there is absolutely no way I could do this.

        And don't get me started on how the bloody MyMSD site/app refuses to send me notifications when there's a new letter there. It did for a while, then stopped. I have a calendar reminder now to check the site every 2 weeks so I don't miss anything. I've nearly had my TAS cut off from missing the deadline.

        Having said all that, if I'm still alive at 65, and Super still exists, it will be a massive relief- pay rise, and get treated so much better by the same system.

        Happy birthday 🙂

        • lprent 4.1.2.1

          Having said all that, if I'm still alive at 65, and Super still exists, it will be a massive relief- pay rise, and get treated so much better by the same system.

          Yeah, I remember back in 1977 pointing out to my dad the really stupid economics of Muldoon's super. And the massive wealth grab by the government at the time from the existing elderly.

          The demographics even then showed a ever smaller tax base trying to support a burgeoning aged population into the future, especially my future.

          I did predict then that I'd never get it (obviously wrong now) or it would be severely diminished comparatively. The latter is obviously right, my parents got a much higher relative to costs super at age 60 than I will get – one that my taxes paid for.

          But the only reasons that our super is not dead now (bearing in mind the terrible productivity of our commodity exports for poor profits) is

          1. the massive relative increase in immigration – mostly younger and with higher fertility rates. That pumps the tax base, but generally not that productively.
          2. The Cullen super fund which National seldom invests in, but which will take some of economic edge off in the 2030s and 2040s. That was smart – which is probably why National never seem to be able to bring themselves to invest in it.

          If I lived rurally, or had mobility problems that made even getting to the increasingly rare post box difficult, there is absolutely no way I could do this.

          And don't get me started on how the bloody MyMSD site/app refuses to send me notifications when there's a new letter there. It did for a while, then stopped. I have a calendar reminder now to check the site every 2 weeks so I don't miss anything. I've nearly had my TAS cut off from missing the deadline.

          That is the point of my post. The government computing systems and online websites are very important and very very productive infrastructure. That is an infrastructure that doesn’t maintain itself. It is the role of ‘back-office’ staff. Not does it build itself, also something done by ‘back-office’ staff.

          Sure I can hop on my bike and get to the MSD that is a few blocks away. But I live nearly at the centre of Auckland and only because I can't get my partner to return to somewhere that is semi-rural (in her case Southland).

          But even my e-bike isn't nearly as productive as doing it without leaving my desk. And who knows how long I can keep avoiding falling off it. Online requires a lot less economic friction and drag for our increasingly computer literate elderly.

          Yet the morons who currently make up our government are clearly interested in decreasing the infrastructural back-end support that allows things like MSD or the police or customs or any of the government systems to function efficiently.

          Instead they'd prefer that people have to drag their increasingly decrepit selves to find front-end staff at a post-office or brick and mortar location.

          National and Act really are operational morons.

        • tWig 4.1.2.2

          M'friend Harry suggested to apply for the pension BEFORE you're elegible by a month or two, for my 65 May birthday this year. A great tip. You don't get backpay to the date of bday, just from when you're granted the pension.

          Applying early meant I got my Gold Card a month early. And pension 1st payment came in on time, so I could pay overdue rates before they went to a collection agency. Phew.

  5. Macro 5

    Well that's what you get when you take away the support staff. More work for the front line staff and the support systems break down. Bloody brilliant.

    And NACTFist in their arrogance really believe they know how to run things. Yep! Run things into the ground.

  6. It's just a matter of time before there's another Novopay-scale fuckup

    As per Chippy's analysis of Nicola Willis "either lazy or incompetent"

    • roblogic 6.1

      … but it was incredible how they fucked up 3 Waters & Cook Strait ferries with no plan B, I find it hard to wrap my head around this level of malice/ insanity

      • lprent 6.1.1

        It is what happens when you concentrate on attacking the incumbents without bothering to think through what you intend to do yourself. It means you get caught doing 100 days of chopping without having anything at all to deal with the needs.

        It was simple brainless stupidity without looking at consequences.

        Something that Labour and the Greens shouldn't try to emulate the performance of.

        National routinely does this, egged on by the idiots in Act who seem to merely have a religious faith in repeating ideas that haven't previously worked.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2

      Incompetent .

      The real reason they reneged on promised Cancer drug being predetermined funding is Pharmac doesnt work that way.

      Secondly by spelling out which drugs were on the to do list was a red flag for the drug companies to play extra hard ball on the pricing.

      Herceptin back in 2008 was funded by personal edict of the PM , but that required a new funding mechanism outside of Pharmac.

      It seems you only want to repeat that method for a dozen new drugs if you are really really stupid.

      hence the PR spin – 'we are working on it'. Their own hubris has smacked them in the face

  7. Mike the Lefty 7

    It could just be a glitch.

    I turned 65 a few months ago and I have to admit that everything was processed quickly and easily, much more so than I was expecting. Perhaps I was lucky.

    But of course you are right to suspect, not spending money on system upgrades would be one way of saving a fair amount of money until the whole thing crashes and that would be one more thing National could blame on Labour.

    • lprent 7.1

      The super was processed easily. I did all of that nearly 2 months ago. Even the job-seeker wasn't too bad. That hardest part was getting my partner fill out the form and to go to the MSD with me. Damn near broke my heart to have to insist.

      What gets me is that I should be able to do most of this online (hell – I largely live online).

      What I am specifically pointing out is that the online services that I rely upon are clearly breaking under them. Can't download a PDF letter on a secure link? WTF! Then having the mechanism to inform MSD tech support also fail – that absolutely borders on criminal.

      I received a e-mail @ 1357 telling me of "Lynn, you've got an important NEW LETTER to read in MyMSD". But I can't read it (or even see it) because I have apparently used up my 50 reads of letters today (WTF!).

      Ummm another e-mail @ 1427 from support. I'd better answer that.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2

      Wait a few years until you reach the age of pension eligibility in Australia (67) because if you worked in Australia for 12 months or more they will make you apply for the Australian mean tested pension – pro rata for the time you spent there

      From memory is a 'booklet' of around 30-40 pages including your partners assets and income

      Most other countries are 5 years or maybe 10 years work there before you become eligible for the 'government' pension but the NZ-Australia arrangement is 12 months or more

      The prorata is done by the total months in Australia – show the details of passport arrival and departure – and the number of months elapsed from 20 yrs to 67 years. ie how much of a normal working life was spent in Australia.

      Once you have your australian part pension awarded theres a choice to having it paid more or less directly to NZ MSD ( no matter the exchange rate) and they pay the standard NZ Super in NZ. The other choice is you get the Aussie $$ and there is a back and forth over the reduced NZ super you get which changes when their rates , our rates and exchange rates change month by month. Choose the first option.

      • lprent 7.2.1

        Personally I wouldn't go to Aussie for super. I'd only go there or the US or Europe to extend my working life. Or to extend my partners working life.

        Currently I enjoy writing code and being on a continual learning treadmill. I do it even as a hobby when I'm not writing comments or posts (which usually happens when I have a coding issue that is blocking me) or reading.

        I figure that I have between 5 and 10 years or a major health issue between now an when I start getting ineffective (and thereby frustrated) at writing innovative and interesting code and seeing it at work in the world. And I'm never going back to anything that is hands-off management.

        The reason to look at Aussie is that the market is both wider and more concentrated. It has more depth for coding roles. NZ has a habit of getting annoyingly tight even in the tech area. Usually when we have the stupid commodity orientated governments running it. Like this lot.

        I'd come back to NZ to retire.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2.1.1

          Im in NZ .

          Getting the Australian Super doesnt require moving back, just applying in NZ when reaching 67 and they pay MSD in NZ directly .

          I was in Australia for almost all the 80s but back here since

          My point was 12 months of more of work in Australia at some point before turning 65 and returned to NZ means MSD will make you apply for a pro rata Australian pension for that time , which will be paid into MSD bank account in NZ

          The Aussie pension is means tested- but not onerously and excludes family home so many many pages of that sort of information.

          If you ignore the 'request' to get an Aussie part payment , I understand they will reduce the NZ super payments

          • Descendant Of Smith 7.2.1.1.1

            No different to UK pension. Seems fair that you shouldn't be able to get more e.g. full NZ pension plus an additional UK or OZ pension on top than a New Zealander who has worked here all their lives.

            I suspect it is the same for all government pensions.

            My father-in-law had done some work in the UK after retirement and got a whole 50 p a month which was slightly amusing.

            • Obtrectator 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep, I had to go through all that too. Luckily I could recall the name and address of every single UK employer I'd had back in the 60s and 70s , and the dates I was with them (including the few days as a temporary postman a couple of times around Christmas). Overwhelmed the b****rs with detail!

              I still don't know how much I get from them as a result. The payments go to an account with one of my banks, but its number and all other relevant detail are a deep dark secret. I just come out the other side with the full NZ Super amount each fortnight.

              The Dutch are the worst for this sort of caper. Obtrectatrix once had a few years living and working there, so had to apply to their government for the few washers she was entitled to. And every couple of years, regular as clockwork, she gets a letter from them asking what amounts to "please confirm you're not dead yet", requiring a reply, at her expense and certified by a JP or equivalent!!

              • lprent

                I don't have that issue. Never been employed directly overseas. It has always been with a NZ based company paying my salary, and usually no more that about 3-5 weeks.

                The only offshore place I have worked long enough was Singapore where I did 5 months in several sections working outside in 2018 doing a hardware/software deployment. Company had to get a work permit for that that because cumulatively it exceeded the normal visa lengths.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    Their core computer systems are from the 70s and 80s . In those days end users had to work through proprietary terminals and communications protocols which ran from the central mainframe ( IBM, UNISYS, Fujitsu and similar)

    they can use modern PCs and generic screens by using 'screen scraper' software but that still limit by the fields available on the old proprietary system screen

    There is a complete project overhaul in the works that could be $2.6 bill plus bill over many years

    I think we can guess that funding will now be the proverbial camel through the eye of Luxon-Peters-Seymour needle

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/132696127/ministry-of-social-developments-26b-transformation-what-would-we-get-for-the-money

    • lprent 8.1

      they can use modern PCs and generic screens by using 'screen scraper' software but that still limit by the fields available on the old proprietary system screen

      🙂 ie the banking system style

      I think we can guess that funding will now be the proverbial camel through the eye of Luxon-Peters-Seymour needle

      Yep. Too stupid to know how to engender actual productivity increases. Too self-involved to listen to people who are competent.

  9. AB 9

    Online services are supported by the back-office team (obviously) and we can cut back-office costs without affecting front-line services (oh….wait)

    To my mind, any manager or politician who pretends there is an operationally meaningful back-office vs frontline distinction, and that what is actually a continuum can be broken or disrupted at any point without consequences, simply doesn't know how anything works and should be permanently locked in a meeting room.

    • Nordy 9.1

      Well said!

      The only change I would make is at the end of your final sentence – "…should be permanently locked in a padded room."

    • Res Publica 9.2

      Even better than that…

      Once they've got rid of all the "unnecessary" back-office staff and realize there's nobody able to build and maintain their business critical systems, most of these agencies will either need to bring contractors at absolutely stupid rates or hire more front line bodies to throw at inefficient manual processes.

      • lprent 9.2.1

        It will be very hard to find competent tech people because they have a strong tendency to pay below market rates. Which means that they will continue to lack 'ownership' of their own systems through a lack of detailed institutional tech.

        Which is why managerial idiots like Willis and Luxon are classic accounting new brooms ideological grit in the way of actual efficiencies. Neither have ever had to work in maintaining and grow systems over time. Both are the exact equivalent of aristos who were too stupid for the military or church but who had a high regard for their ability to order others around whenever they paused in their career paths.

        The contract rates that they will have to pay for talent are going to be horrendous. Even then it is hard to get anyone. I always shy away from any government work simply because I saw it just once for a few months, and it was about the worst kind of technical job.

  10. SPC 10

    For a comparison, there is the banking world.

    The government has legislated open banking from 1 June – but there is no information about this on bank sites, it is not something they want customers informed about.

    One bank, ANZ, sort of admits that they will use security concerns to limit the provision of payment to retailers from accounts. They are currently the bank least likely to be part of account2account now (guess why).

    While the secure payment service will be available at the big four banks by 30 May, the data-sharing service will not be available at all of them immediately. ASB will offer the data-sharing service from 30 November, while ANZ says its service is "in development".

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/350290703/open-banking-how-opt-and-out-new-payment-system

  11. tsmithfield 11

    The administrative side of the government should be shrinking as a result of AI regardless of anything the governmen has done. I think government departments should be looking at ways to utilise AI to augment any lack of resources caused by the government's cost cutting measures.

    In our business we are saving huge amounts of time in data entry for instance by scanning in bills directly into our accounting package rather than manually entering them.

    Also, I think the way that customers interact with government departments will be in for huge changes in the future. For example, I imagine that chat bots will continue to get smarter and more effective in dealing with queries going forward.

    With these types of changes, the need for humans on the administrative side should continue to reduce, which should free up resources for front-line services.

    • lprent 11.1

      AI is about as stupid as the data it receives, and is largely defined by the data that it doesn't have. It is a classic GIGO issue.

      All of the generative 'AI' systems are currently showing that up strongly. They try to cover it with confident assertions (ie AI hallucinations) that are just a case of writing natural language analogues of internet trolls (think Whaleoil as an example).

      I think government departments should be looking at ways to utilise AI to augment any lack of resources caused by the government's cost cutting measures.

      Sure. But to do that you first have to set up a project to do it. This involves a fair chunk of up-front monetary and skilled and knowledgeable human capital to look at the available data, figure how to extract it, store it, retrieve it, and use it.

      Problem is that to save on the back-office monetary, the current idiots are removing the human capital that is required to achieve it.

      Mostly what I expect is that with the inherent stupidity of people like Luxo, Willis, Seymour, etc they will continue to keep depriving the public service of the required back office skills required to make such systems.

      I point you at the almost every public service system from the monumental sluggishness of the IRD upgrade. Started in about 2002, finally started to achieve a major target this year – it managed to automatically calculate and pay me my tax refund. The monumental fuckups that are the police, 111, and even the other emergency systems. And those are the critical systems.

      Ones like the MSD and WINS are still decades behind those. I remember that when my partner at the time was working at employment and then social welfare in the early 1980s, I was commenting in exactly the same breathless way that you are now about the potential of computer tech would help get rid of some of the morass.

      But here we are now 4 decades later and the failed managers and short-sighted accountants of National are still cutting back-office functions to make tax savings and forgetting that you always have to inject capital into systems to actually get productivity gains.

      In our business we are saving huge amounts of time in data entry for instance by scanning in bills directly into our accounting package rather than manually entering them.

      And that was after a line of development that has taken over 3 decades to come to fruition. I first worked using those techniques back in the late 1980s and early 1990s when it was the next big thing – which was where it remained until the 2010s. I could scan bills, convert to text, and pump into accounting systems. One of my R&D contracts for Telecom did exactly that in 1991 tagging phone bills for client corporate general ledgers.

      It has absolutely nothing to do with 'AI'. It has been simple visual or text recognition to translate type text or even handwriting into data. The 'AI' part of it would be where it successfully transcribes data extracted into standardised formats like relational or noSQL data stores.

      In reality most of the time that usually requires someone smart enough to to provide a template directing parts of the ever changing input sources.

      The reality is that isn't a AI function. It is actually a lot easier to treat it as a API function and make b2b channels to use it so that there isn't a paper or PDF intermediary at all. Essentially what I do as a consumer when paying almost all of my bills using the banking network automatically.

      For example, I imagine that chat bots will continue to get smarter and more effective in dealing with queries going forward.

      I can't see it happening. I still haven't found one that can do more than deal with a couple of standard routines. If it were a standard query then it should be in a FAQ system with a standard action attached (like "show me what I owe" or "where did that bill line item come from") and on a web page.

      Mostly it is a matter of getting the initial information supplied to be correct and obvious in the first place. I'm about to dump OneNZ as a phone service provider because they sent me a bill containing a unexplained $8.95 line item where the cell phone contract covered everything except for some weird countries. But OneNZ services couldn't explain where it came from even after I spent 30 minutes on the phone to someone. It should have been shown as a separate line in the bill, otherwise how can anyone find out if charges are valid.

      That means that their systems are seriously fucked up and that they are completely untrustworthy as a provider of data services.

      BTW: It was probably a phone charge from phone consult with doctor. My partner had to look at her diary to see what she had been doing that day, and that was her best guess,

      Sure dealing with online info requires a modicum of computer interface skills on the user side. But that is essentially a self-correcting demographic problem as the interface illiterates exit. But it a lot cheaper than trying to get chatbot to handle basic questions where the data isn't even available.

      Personally I have never managed to get anything coherent from any chat bot or phone map system except connect me to a human. They merely slow the process. I've been using them ever since Eliza in the late 70s. They haven't progressed much for anything important.

      • tsmithfield 11.1.1

        I agree with you that applying AI technology to a large organisation is a major exercise full of a lot of complexity. And, I did probably use the term AI a bit loosely. So, thanks for that.

        I was talking to someone I know in a large corporate where NetSuite was being implimented. Apparently it is costing them a fortune and not delivering on what was promised. So, I see that introducing complete systems is going to be problematic for large organisations.

        But, I think there are a lot of areas where AI (or more broadly, technology) will help at a more basic level. For instance, converting documents to editable text. Or, the likes of Microsoft Copilot. For instance, the Xcel version of that can convert verbal instructions into formulae. Not very impressive at the moment from what I have seen. But, will likely get a lot better going forward.

        I trialed Hubdoc (that interfaces with Xero) to consider if it was useful for our company. I entered about 80 creditor invoices within about half an hour. It would have taken hours to do that manually.

        Interestingly, there was discussion on the Radio this morning about the Warriors utilising AI for analysing large numbers of games from a future oponnent to find patterns in their games that suggest opportunities to exploit.

        So, I think it is likely more in these discrete type of areas where progress will be made first.

        • lprent 11.1.1.1

          Yeah, but you notice exactly the same process inherent in all of those instances. It actually takes someone competent in the operation / industry / company and knowledgeable enough in the required tech to setup or use these technology to create systems to make them useful. They also need to take ownership of the process change to push them through to fruition.

          In other words, exactly the kinds of people who are designated as being 'back-office' that this government wants less of. They aren't doing 'front-facing' operations, they are inherently support staff. They know the existing systems and they know operational patterns.

          Even if you are mainly hiring contractors or having supplier implementations and not using them directly, then those are the people that they need to talk to a lot to find out how to hook into existing systems or how to transition off them. Most managers usually know bugger all about their own systems.

          They tend to be client-facing or upwards facing and big-picture idiots like Luxo and entirely unconcerned with mundane managerial tasks like how to make things actually work. After all it is far easier to scapegoat someone who actually works at the hard end or operations.

          I regularly completely change industries and the scale or focus of what I work on when I change jobs. I have been trained in and grew up up in management and generally leadership situations so I'm always acutely aware of it.

          But it always surprises me the vast lack of depth and understanding that many managers, especially in NZ, have in their understanding of the operations that buoy up their organisation and departments. In particular their lack of understanding on who to talk to when looking at where to find institutional knowledge about how things actually work.

          It simply doesn't matter how much understanding managers have about sales, customers, accounting, their objectives or what their superiors think. To successfully get a operations project to fruition you need to find the people who know the operational details, expected behaviours, and existing systems and express them at a operational technical levels.

          I usually dig into the customer support, the existing code and data, existing manual systems, whatever QA or coding people are still there, and anyone actually running the systems to figure out how to make the requirements and managerial aspirations into something that will work. Then I get into whatever part that I have in the project.

          If the back-office isn't there then it is way way harder. You damn near have to reconstruct organisational operations from scratch, and invariably create some kind of weird semi-functional hybrid. But managers in either your organisation of those you are interfacing with are pretty much useless in either process.

          Mostly building new or upgraded systems what I need are back-office. Usually what you find is that the dumb-arse managers make them redundant or don't replace them before trying any productivity improvements. Moron managers like Luxo…

          Which is why I do most of my work these days in engineering, startups or SMEs who retain their back-office expertise.

          BTW: if you ever want to to case study corporate tech system stupidity, the AirNZ is always there as a sterling example. The tales from their tech teams over decades have been quite disturbing about just how out of touch their managers are with the concept of knowing about their actual operations.

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  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
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    4 hours ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
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    4 hours ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
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    20 hours ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
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    20 hours ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
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    20 hours ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
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    22 hours ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
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    23 hours ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
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    23 hours ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
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    23 hours ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
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    24 hours ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
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    1 day ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
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    1 day ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
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    3 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
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    3 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
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    3 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
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    3 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
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    4 days ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
    Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Andrew Bayly, travels to Singapore today to attend scam and fraud prevention meetings. “Scams are a growing international problem, and we are not immune in New Zealand. Organised criminal networks operate across borders, and we need to work with our Asia-Pacific partners to tackle ...
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    4 days ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
    People who were displaced by severe weather events in 2022 and 2023 will be supported by the extension of Temporary Accommodation Assistance through to 30 June 2025. Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says the coalition Government is continuing to help to those who were forced out of their ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “Natural gas is critical to keeping our lights on ...
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    5 days ago
  • New Zealand and Malaysia to intensify connections
    New Zealand and Malaysia intend to intensify their long-standing, deep connections, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s oldest friends in South-East Asia – and both countries intend to get more out of the relationship," Mr Peters says.   "Our connections already run deep and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Ending contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua
    The end of Contracted Emergency Housing (CEH) motels in Rotorua is nearing another milestone as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces it will not renew consents for six of the original 13 motels, Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka says. The government is committed to stop using CEH ...
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    6 days ago
  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
    The Government is providing a narrow exemption from the discontinuation of the First Home Grant for first home buyers who may face unfair situations as a result, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “The First Home Grant scheme was closed with immediate effect on 22 May 2024, with savings being reprioritised ...
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    7 days ago
  • Faster consenting for flood protection projects in Hawke's Bay
    Work to increase flood resilience in Hawke’s Bay can start sooner, thanks to a new fast consenting process, Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery Mark Mitchell and Environment Minister Penny Simmonds say.  “Faster consenting means work to build stop banks, spillways and other infrastructure can get underway sooner, increasing flood ...
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    7 days ago
  • Judge Craig Coxhead and Nathan Milner newest Māori Land Court appointments
    Tangata tū tangata ora, tangata noho tangata mate. Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka today announced acting Deputy Chief Judge Craig Coxhead as the new Deputy Chief Judge, and Nathan Milner as Judge of the Māori Land Court. "I want to congratulate Judge Coxhead and Mr Milner on their appointments ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade and cooperation
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
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    1 week ago
  • Visit to Viet Nam strengthens ties
    New Zealand and Viet Nam are focused on strengthening cooperation by making progress on mutually beneficial opportunities, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. “Viet Nam matters enormously to New Zealand," Mr Peters says. "Our countries enjoy broad cooperation, in such areas as defence, security, trade, education and tourism. We are ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government delivers funding boost to fix potholes
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to boost funding for pothole prevention, with indicative funding levels confirmed by NZTA showing a record increase in funding to help fix potholes on our State Highways and Local Roads, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The NZTA Board has today confirmed indicative ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government making fuel resilience a priority
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will halt work on procuring reserve diesel stock and explore other ways to bolster New Zealand’s diesel resilience, Associate Energy Minister Shane Jones says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will also begin work on changes to the minimum fuel stockholding ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt strengthens COVID-19 preparedness
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says additional supplies of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RATs) will enable New Zealanders to continue testing this winter.  “In January, we announced an extension of public access to free RATs until the end of June,” Dr Reti says.  “I’m pleased to confirm that Health New ...
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    1 week ago

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