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National created more working groups than Labour

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, January 18th, 2020 - 31 comments
Categories: national, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, treasury - Tags:


From the you have to be freakin kidding file.

Boris Janic at the Herald has reported that National created *more* working groups than Labour during the first two years of each party’s latest term of Government.

From the Article:

Since the early days of the current Government the Opposition has accused it of splurging on public reviews, working groups and advisory panels, saying the situation was out of control.

Ministers says it’s a complete beat-up, National says it’s been a consultants’ bonanza.

So with the second year of the Parliamentary term now wrapped up, how many reviews have actually been set up, how many have been finished and how do the numbers stack up?

As it turns out, the country’s civil service watchdog – the State Services Commission – last year began quietly keeping track with its own official list of inquiries, reviews, and advisory groups.

According to the National Party, there have been a whopping 302 government reviews and groups launched since the Government came to power.

But the State Services Commission puts the number at 103. (See its full list below)

It says 55 of those have now been finished, while the Government will go into election year with 48 still going – including 19 that are designated as part of the core work of public agencies, such as regular reviews of laws.

Another two reviews are already also slated to start in 2020.

By comparison, the previous National Government launched 113 reviews by the middle of 2010 – roughly half way through its second year in Government, according the party’s own count.

There is some dispute about the definitions and the categorisations.  National’s definition involves any entity that has Ministerial powers devolved to it.

But this is a rather unfortunate dent in the suggestion that National is somehow better managers of the Government’s purse strings than Labour.

31 comments on “National created more working groups than Labour ”

  1. Incognito 1

    There are times that the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, despite suffering from mission creep to gain public attention, nearly mounts a more effective opposition than the actual Opposition. Without exception, this is when the actual Opposition sinks to levels of infantile point scoring, gotcha moments, and barking at every passing self-driving vehicle.

    The number of ‘working groups’ is largely irrelevant.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    I suspect that the Nat figure of 302 was arrived at by contracting the counting job out to Steven Joyce. When it comes to counting big numbers, he's the man! 😄

  3. Paaparakauta 3

    Any politically independent evaluations of effectivness ?

  4. UncookedSelachimorpha 4

    What a garbage metric for assessing effective government. Good on ya National.

  5. Graeme 5

    Joseph Kuhtze

    You'd be pretty safe with that one

  6. "National created more working groups than Labour"

    Well that was a bit of a fizzer eh Miks? Posted 8am and its now 11 hrs later with 8 comments.

    Yea/nah – people seem more interested in, and pontificating over a Tangerine Turkey.

    Did that turkey pardon himself on Thanksgiving?


    • Incognito 6.1

      You seem to make the classical commenter mistake, which is to assume that the number of comments can (and should?) be used to judge a post. Many readers of the site never comment (here). Page views and other stats are constantly collected and I can tell you, in confidence, that they outnumber the comments by a huge factor. MickySavage has earned his Christmas bonus.

      • Sacha 6.1.1

        Why be shy about the proportion of silent readers? Might give some commenters pause for restraint.

        • Incognito

          It is above my pay grade to divulge specific numbers. They are different for each post and depend on day of the week and other factors (including technical). Suffice to say, silent readers outnumber commenters by a huge factor. FWIW, I’m more interested in the quality of comments than in the sheer quantity knowing full well that the former is subjective.

          • Sacha

            I don't mean you specifically – the site seems to have nothing to lose by being more open about that average ratio.

            • weka

              we can't see the stats for a post until midnight. Lynn might be able to see more. I'm also not sure whether to go with Unique Views, Users or Page Views (there's also a bunch of other stuff related to how long someone stays on the page etc).

              This post had 530 Users yesterday. Not bad for a Saturday in summer. Ten comments yesterday. How did Public Address do the comparison? 10/530? Can you link to an example from PA?

              • Sacha

                Public Address always listed those stats for each post in its front end, which is unusual – scroll down to 'Active Discussions'. https://publicaddress.net/

                • weka

                  oh that is cool, I hadn't noticed that before.

                  I'll ask Lynn about that.

                  They've got some serious view numbers on some of those posts, I wonder what they're measuring. Has there been explanatory discussion about this?

            • Incognito

              IIRC, the average ratio readers : commenters hovers around 20 : 1. I don’t know (either) if this has changed.

              Think of it as you and your spouse having a conversation in a restaurant where other diners can easily overhear you; you’d keep your voices down, avoid certain topics, and wouldn’t say certain things, wouldn’t you? The number of other diners is not very relevant. That said, people on their mobile phones seem to be oblivious to the outside world and we all have to ‘enjoy’ their loud conversations. Maybe it is because they cannot actually see the one they are talking at and don’t make eye contact with people physically present in their immediate vicinity.

              • Sacha

                Think of it as you and your spouse having a conversation in a restaurant where other diners can easily overhear you; you’d keep your voices down, avoid certain topics, and wouldn’t say certain things, wouldn’t you?

                That's what I was thinking of, yes.

          • OnceWasTim

            Pay grades aside, you might be horrified to learn who gets access to statistics.

            The hazards of the interweb! (Which is another of my interests – when I can be bothered – which is not often these days)

            • Incognito

              My security status gives me access to some site stats. I believe I can have full access but I am not interested. After all, I’m just a volunteer here 😉

      • OnceWasTim 6.1.2

        Not at all. My interest is more to do with what motivates people to actually comment or remain silent. And I'm not judging either – just forming an opinion.

        I just find it interesting that people are more inclined to comment on a Tangerine Turkey than they are on issues that are more likely to directly affect them (such as this post)

        And thankfully we don't have like/dislike thumbs up/down on this site

        • Incognito

          My apologies for the misunderstanding; your opinion had a judgemental tone to it IMO.

          I think there will be many different reasons why people prefer to read rather than comment. I could go into my personal experience with my journey from being a read-only visitor to commenter to Author to Moderator here but I won’t bore you with that 😉

          Controversial and outlandish stories attract more attention. SMS know and fully use this, further aided by attention-grabbing headlines and colourful thumbnail images/photos. I have experimented with this here in the past and some of my posts were hugely more popular than others. Personally, I’m not interested in popularity stakes – I’m quite confident that none of the Authors here are – and I write about what I want to write about (see also https://thestandard.org.nz/about/#you_must), when I find the time and energy.

          We have implicit thumbs up/down ‘buttons’ here and that is or can be bad enough …

    • froggleblocks 6.2

      For many hours yesterday clicking on this post resulted in a blank page without any content loading.

      This is not the first time this has happened to me on this site in recent weeks. I suspect this is happening to others. It would explain the lack of comments.

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