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Next to go – Joyce or McCully?

Written By: - Date published: 9:26 am, March 22nd, 2012 - 45 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, phil goff, Steven Joyce - Tags:

Nick Smith is gone but you might have missed 2 other senior ministers on the ropes yesterday. Steven Joyce hasn’t bothered to do his homework, doesn’t know if his ‘mega-ministry’ will save money or cost more. Meanwhile, McCully’s shifting blame to the CEO he appointed for the Mfat mess while blowing $200K to give the ambassadors an earful in person over all the leaks.

If competence is something John Key demands in his ministers, these two have some explaining to do if they’re to keep their jobs.

Cunliffe lays out Joyce

7. Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) to the Minister for Economic Development: What, if any, are the capital costs, write-downs and redundancy costs expected from the merger of the Ministry of Economic Development with the Ministry of Science and Innovation, Department of Labour and Department of Building and Housing?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development) : The specific costings for the items sought by the member are not available at this time. As stated last week when the planned merger was first announced, a due diligence process is now under way, and Cabinet will receive a report next month that will provide further information. We are confident, given our recent experience with other public sector structural change, that the costs will be able to be met within baselines. We also expect savings through better coordination, better-quality advice, and giving businesses one agency to talk to, and that these will outweigh the costs.
Hon David Cunliffe: I seek leave to table a document created by the Parliamentary Library, depicting the Ministry of Science and Innovation’s shining new logo, which so far has been relevant for only 408 days.
Hon David Cunliffe: I seek leave to table this document created by the Parliamentary Library, depicting the Ministry of Economic Development’s new website branding, which was relevant for no more than 235 days.
Hon David Cunliffe: Why was a full due diligence not completed on the full costs of the merger prior to its announcement? If one was completed, who conducted the due diligence and what was the result, and if it was not completed prior, why not?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Because the Government took a strategic decision—

Hon Member: Oh!

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: It did. It took a strategic decision to, in principle, merge those ministries, and then a full public due diligence process. The reality, as the member knows, is that you have to go through a process and that involves a significant number of officials and people and a significant amount of time. It is appropriate that the Cabinet make a strategic decision first, and then that work is done once the Cabinet is keen to move forward.

Goff to McCully
Hon Phil Goff: Have heads of mission been called back to New Zealand to a meeting in Wellington on 2 April, and, if so, what is the cost of doing that?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: The chief executive has signalled to heads of mission that they can expect an invitation to a meeting in Wellington in April to discuss their roles in the change process. This has been necessitated by the fact that large-scale outsourcing proposals involved in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade consultation process will not be proceeded with. Many, but not all, heads of mission are likely to attend. I am advised that the process is likely to cost around $200,000.
Hon Phil Goff: Is the Minister telling the House that he is bringing back most heads of mission, at the cost of at least $200,000, to tell them that his restructuring proposals are not going to go ahead in the form that he proposed, because they are unworkable?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: Let me be very clear about this. I have not asked the heads of mission to come to Wellington. The chief executive has invited heads of mission to come to Wellington for the meeting. I have indicated to the chief executive that I support him in issuing that invitation. The proposals that have been put out to staff for consultation clearly require significant modifications, and those modifications will involve an enhanced role for those heads of mission.
Hon Phil Goff: Has the Minister allowed to be spent millions of dollars on consultants for the change process, 34 staff to be listed in his staff directory as being in the change programme office, and now several hundred thousand dollars to be spend to bring the heads of mission back, all to tell them that the proposals that he has been labouring on for over a year are not going ahead?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: The chief executive circulated detailed proposals for change, because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade needs to undergo significant modernisation to ensure, for a start, that its footprint comes close to matching the significant changes that have taken place in New Zealand’s trade and economic interests. The member might like to reflect on the fact that Mr Allen confronts this task because that member was asleep on the job when he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Hon Phil Goff: Is the Minister now telling the House that it is all Mr Allen’s fault, and that, in fact, Mr Allen did not consult with him closely at every step of the way about the direction of the change and the fact that he, as Minister, expected $40 million in cuts from his ministry?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: I have made it very clear that the proposal circulated to ministry staff comes from ministry management, and not from me.

45 comments on “Next to go – Joyce or McCully? ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Since those items relate to decision making and performance rather than improper behaviour, I expect that if they are to lose their ministries it will be result of a reshuffle rather than resignation.

  2. Dv 2

    Oh goody move the incompetence around.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Yep. Shame about the old Tory rule though, you can move incompetence around but you can’t get rid of it: i.e. Conservation of Incompetence.

      • tsmithfield 2.1.1

        Notice I used the word “if” in qualifying what I said. It doesn’t mean I actually think there is any incompetence.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          Another smash hit from “Twelve Conservative Comedy Greats”.

          You put your fingers in
          You get them burned right off
          Waste a lot of money
          And then blame Phil Goff

          That’s what it’s all about.

        • felix

          Actually your use of the word “if” relates to the outcome (whether they lose their ministries or not), not to your remarks on their decision making and performance.

          Is someone tapping you on the shoulder again?

        • I don’t think that it’s appropriate to be talking about incompetence of specific ministers.

          No, we should be questioning the competence of all ministers in general- this government just doesn’t seem able to run anything.

      • Rob 2.1.2

        Mate I laugh, a bit like sticking the active, energetic and innovative Judith Tizard in as Minister for Auckland.

  3. coolas 3

    McCully’s cronyism in favouring his mates for NZAid projects in the Pacific is hot topic for investigation. Many long time NGO’s have been shafted in favour of newcomers linked to McCully.

  4. Johnny 4

    Is McCully lying about his level of involvement? As well as initiating the change, the Minister has been regularly updated on the reorganisation.

    MFAT told the Foreign Affairs select committee in February 2012. Q147. What reports and advice has the Ministry made to the government on reorganisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade? Please provide a list of reports by date and title.

    “The Ministry has engaged regularly with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on its intentions and progress under the Ministry 20/20 change process. This has been largely through briefings from the Chief Executive.”


    The change proposals are discussed at Q5, Q128 and Q129. $7 million in redundancies is anticipated in 2011/12 alone, more in following years (Q19). Big increase in staff turnover already to 14% (Q22). Increase in PGs (Q26). MFAT is holding 87 vacancies (Q117).
    A Minister and department under pressure I would say. Still managed to find $11 m for the World Cup (Q94) for guest events.

  5. Eddie, we’d be having an election every month if MPs resigned at the rate of your demands.

    • mac1 5.1

      And what an indictment of this government……….

    • tc 5.2

      Monthly performance reviews….you’re onto it PG. imagine what Dunne’s would look like, had hair done, proposed another tax cut/revenue reduction measure, did lunch, created more ambiguous spin. A+

    • Blighty 5.3

      Can we have one next month in Ohariu?

      Btw, I love your ‘they’re shit but wouldn’t it be hard to find better people?’ line. In fact, isn’t that the United Future motto?

      • Jim Nald 5.3.1

        The question is who will be assassinated before the smiling assassinator goes for broke, shrugs and then stages his own demise?

        Btw, a very insightful piece from Gould:

      • (A different) Nick K 5.3.2

        Would LOVE to have a by-election here in Ohariu! What a good idea, see what Peter Dunne’s mandate is really like now that he his openly supporting asset sales, rather than before the election when he was sending ambiguous messages to the electorate.

        Of course McCully and Joyce aren’t going to go on the basis of these exchanges. Its interesting to see how bare competent these big boys are, but this is not going the threaten their careers any time soon.

    • KJT 5.4

      Good. Binding referendums and recalls like a real democracy.

      Smith had to fall on his sword quickly before demands built up for his total resignation, and a by election was required.

      Now we just have to get the rest of them for their incompetence, fraud, theft and cronyism.

      Starting with the insiders in SCF and Huljich Finance.

      I feel a bit sorry for Smith. After all, he was just following his leaders examples.

  6. deuto 6

    It is interesting to note that iPredict still has an item on “NZ Minister to depart in 2012” currently running at about 64-65%. Wonder who they have in mind?


    • Lanthanide 6.1

      It was running at 85% or so before the whole affair with Nick Smith blew up.

      I don’t believe there’s any real insider knowledge here, it’s just the expectation have that this government is full of corrupt incompetents and eventually it will be brought to light in such a way that Key has to get rid of them.

  7. Jenny 7

    Next to go?

    Richard Pearson for contempt of court.

  8. Jim Nald 8

    Maybe we could do a john-key by getting others to bet on Joyce being moved off but put money on McCully being dumped? 😛

  9. Robert M 9

    It’s difficult to determine whether John Allen or McCully is primarily responsible for this stuff up.
    My own view is that Foreign Affairs should expand its staff of NZers to provide more trade and strategic analysts and staff in both in Asia and Europe. Certainly Stockhom should be closed as it was little more that a talisman for Helen but a strong presence is required in both continents.
    I very much support getting rid of the deadwood in the department , the 50ish diplomats and their Karori wives who would be anything but good shopwindows for NZ as a modern society in touch with the world but they need to be replaced with younger officials.I am also somewhat sceptical if family oriented people are really the ideal to sell NZ and handle NZ interests in the modern world. Young swinging singles in touch with the movers and shakers would be far more promising in Washington, NY, LA, Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo.
    The real point is the government is stopped in the water, stranded in the headlights on the global economic crisis, the mass exodus overseas.
    The slightest protest from some burnt out wives of failed old diplomats seems to have stopped in its tracks even modest change in the foreign affairs. The lack of courage and direction by Key is astonishing. I find it extraorinary that Key dosen’t celebrate the resignation of Smith who is a backswood social credit type politician who believes in absoulutely nothing Australian liberals or British torys, believe in. The fact Michelle Boag and Cactus Kate could treat a ridiculous muckracking small time moral conservative like Nick Smith with respect is incredible. If the National Party of John Marshall or Jim McLay in anyway still existed they would be dancing in the street at getting rid of Smith and calling for that other deep southern conservative do nothing no nothing Bill English to get out as well.
    The hypocricy of paid National supporters like Carry Taylor of Guy Salmon praising a cyncial ruthless environment criminal like Smith as an environmental activist of note is ever more stupifying . Smith has sacked the Canterbury Regional council specifically to open up the consents for highly environmental corrosive dairy conversions which will be farmed by farmers of doubtful suitability. It is very cyncial vote buying to deliver to struggling low income areas of SC and NOtago where the Brat pack strategy has been to reclaim the labour vote with political bribes and a variety or orchastrated scandals engineered by the likes of my old mates in 5A3 David Hawkey and Mark Oldfield. The Brat Pack and their mates are now my ultimate beit noirs and hates. Oldfields political performance would rate as the most criminal in NZ History.

  10. I don’t care if Nick Smith was shagging the family goat (except of course for the obvious issue of consent).
    Even though I dislike Smith’s politics, some of the decisions he made, his defense of the indefensible, his alignment with a bunch of self-satisfied ideological dinosaurs – at least he was a competent minister. He also gets from me some kudos for doing the right thing (regardless of whether he was pushed or jumped).
    The real tragedy with this incident is that Nick Smith should not have been the first minister to go. It should have been Murray McCully.
    The man (and I use that term loosely) is NOT a competent minister.

    – $200,000 to get the heads of mission back to NZ to fix up his failed reforms in MFAT (“Hire a consultant to tell me how many jobs have t go to cover this”)
    – $75, 000 to get an Air Force jet to take him to Vanuatu instead of using readily available flights for a fraction of the price (“No worries, we can sack some people to pay for that”).
    – $26,000 to charter a plane for fly him and his team from Thailand to Myanmar when commercial travel is available for less (“Let’s sack some more people”)
    – Making a balls-up of the preparation for Rugby World Cup – transport and the waterfront celebrations.
    – Becoming a security risk to the New Zealand people by having is email redirected outside the government system to a personal email account (which was subsequently hacked).
    – Blaming the failed MFAT reforms on the head of department.
    – Blaming Len Brown when his own incompetence lead to failing to adequately prepare for the RWC transport and waterfront celebration.

  11. freedom 11

    So sick of people saying Nick Smith is doing the right thing.

    If he was doing the right thing in the first place, he would not have had a reason to resign !

  12. james 111 12

    Yes Labour would love it to be Joyce ,because you have no answer to him he is more competent on his own than the entire Labour Party put together

    • felix 12.1

      It’s a very small club you’re a member of there james. Just you and John Key AFAICT.

    • thatguynz 12.2

      Fuck me, you’ve outdone even your own regular levels of complete and utter tripe there Jimbo…

      Once you’ve gotten over your Steven Joyce love-in, perhaps you could actually do some research on him and see if he is still as lily-white as you seem to think he is…

  13. james 111 13

    How well do think Shearer is going Felix slaying them in the house is he? Or tripping up every time he opens his mouth. Tell me how does Norway compare to New Zealand believe we have a higher standard of living on the OECD charts. Does David Norway Shearer want to aspire to lead us down the charts so we can be more like Norway?

    • felix 13.1


      Trying to change the subject already?

      So much for the Joyce fanclub!

      • james 111 13.1.1

        Felix you changed it to Key, I replied with Shearer whats the difference just replying in kind. Or is it OK for you to change it but not me?

        • felix

          Where did I do that? I was commenting on Joyce and his uselessness and how he doesn’t have many fans.

          Maybe next time you have a little break you should spend it learning to read instead of masturbating into an old sock and eating dirt.

        • fender

          Once again you go arse over kite there james 111, must be your slippery socks.
          D. Cunliffe could nail your beloved Joyce to the wall. Hell even you james could outsmart the dictatorial Joyce, if you could combat his bully boy tactics.

    • freedom 13.2

      Reading off the wrong memo me ‘ol mate. poor Jimmy, it was Finland, FINLAND, geez National only said it about thirtynine times in the House yesterday, was that so long ago you have already forgotten the meme of the day ?

    • David H 13.3

      Shearer said NOTHING about Norway. But he did mention Finland a few times.

  14. SpaceMonkey 14

    John Key still hasn’t answered properly for the S&P email from “a friend” fiasco, let alone Joyce and McCully.

  15. Te Reo Putake 15

    What a sad sack you are, hobbit. Easy to slander people on teh blogs when you haven’t got the cojones to do it in public, eh.
    You do know there is an even longer list of compromised Nats don’t ya? The key thing here (pun very much intended) is that this current lot are the form team in terms of the similarity of the weaknesses and the frequency of the sackings/resignations/negotiated exits in just four short years. 

  16. hobbit 16

    “Easy to slander people on teh blogs when you haven’t got the cojones to do it in public, eh.”

    Same could be said for many of the writers on this site.

    Or don’t you agree with that bit of standard policy. The censors will be after you too then..

    [So far I don’t recall you bring anything of value to the debate. Given that you are posting under a psuedonym and yet denigrating other people for doing exactly the same… permanently banned as a waste of pixels..RL]

    • Te Reo Putake 16.1

      Cheers, RL.
      Just to clarify, my comment above was in response to a particularly stupid contribution from Hobbit, which I presume he deleted shortly after, leaving mine as an orphan.

  17. Takere 17

    Well if this plays out …the National party can’t deny their party has a serious crisis on their hands and heres a glimpse at our immediate future! …Here’s the Great Plan for NZ – Comrade Joyceski & comrade PinoKeyoski are working on. First, centralise all government ministries …….”Senior political figures say that creates direct conflict with Mr Joyceski, whose know-all approach means he genuinely believes that his new super-bureaucracy, a Russian styled Politburo, guided by Soviet-style five-year plans, will drive economic and social transformation.” Long Live Comrade Joyceski!! More about Comrade Joyceski …to the dismay of more experienced ministers, Mr Joyceski thinks a modern free-market authoritarian capitalist economy will work better if “he” decides which sectors are to be backed by the apparatus of the state, which companies get which government contracts, what tertiary students should study, what science should be pursued and which bridge or convention centre should be built. Despite Joyceski’s & PinoKeyoski’s paternalist tendencies, the Blinglish faction understands that this huge ideological shift is the road to serfdom – or at least wasted taxpayer dollars, corruption and retarded economic growth which we have already had much experience of recently with the Nick Smith ACC scandal as well as in the past 3 years.
    So if NZ looks Red and the State rules like a authoritarian communist state, do you think the Chinese will go for it if we put it on the market comrade Pinokeyoski? – The Free Market Authoritarian Totalitarian Communist State of NZ. We just might get an election sooner than we thought!
    Mathew Hooten parts of the article. He’s a bit pisst been replaced by Michelle Boagan!

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