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Please advise

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, April 7th, 2011 - 21 comments
Categories: leadership, national - Tags: ,

Meant to write about this at the time. Tuesday evening, the top two headlines on Newsroom were as follows:

CURRENT HEADLINES at 5:57 pm, 05 Apr 2011

QUAKE RECOVERY: Dole Numbers Unknown – Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett says she has not sought advice over how many Christchurch people are headed for the dole queue once the earthquake relief package expires in eight weeks. MORE

QUAKE RECOVERY: Health Risks – Health Minister Tony Ryall has acknowledged there is a public heath risk from Christchurch’s broken sewerage system but says he has received no advice to take extra preventative measures such as mass immunisation. MORE Related: CCC

Remember back in the dark ages when Ministers had some initiative? Remember when we elected leaders to lead? Could some brave public servants in the relevant ministries, if you still have jobs, please do the MPs jobs for them as well, and get these clowns the advice that they need? We the public would much appreciate it. Cheers.

21 comments on “Please advise”

  1. lprent 1

    That is just freaky. One minute they are laying off the policy wonks who do this. The next, they are saying that as ministers they are mere sock puppets of the civil service.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Initiative is not encouraged in the national cabinet

    they follow the  example that is set from the top

  3. Richard 4

    It seems to be partly about maintaining a strategy of “plausible” deniability.

    “It’s not my fault, I wasn’t told”.

  4. Anita 5

    Bennett’s response leaves room for the possibility that the Ministry told her (but she didn’t like the answer)

    It would surprise me if the Ministry doesn’t have at least a good estimate of the number, and one would have to wonder why they wouldn’t have given the estimate to the Minister

    • Marty G 5.1

      she also said she wouldn’t seek advise on the issue because ‘they all get the dole anyway, regardless of how many there are’:

      Hon PAULA BENNETT: Our concentration has very much been on supporting the businesses and employees that need us most. The member may not understand the social security system. That support is there for however many need it, whether that figure is 1,000 or a few thousand. The reality is—[Interruption ]
      Hon Clayton Cosgrove: Why don’t you ask your department?

      Hon PAULA BENNETT: If that member stopped picking numbers out of thin air and actually looked at what needed to be done, which is supporting the employees who need us most, he would see that the system is there for those who need it, however many do.

      I love that she tells Cosgrove to ‘actually look at what needs to be done’ while saying she herself doesn’t need to because the system is automatic.

    • ianmac 5.2

      Yes Anita. That was my impression from the answer she gave. “I have a secret but it is bad news so I am not going to tell anyone.”

  5. Funny, Key had no problem saying that 10,000 houses in Chch would be demolished without official advise.
    I believe the actual number has turned out to be about 6,000.
    But what’s 4,000 houses between distraught families friends?

  6. Roger 7

    Quite a difference from the previous Prime Minister who worked extremely hard at making sure that she was never blindsided by a question from anyone. Now we have ministers who have minimal handle on their own portfolio area relating to major events. I’m especially disappointed in Tony Ryall, his lack of foresight over such an obvious problem suggests he either doesn’t give a toss or he is in a job well above his level of competency, or most likely both.

    • higherstandard 7.1

      Odd Roger, i rate Ryall’s performance in the health portfolio as the best in recent memory unlike most of the other bumblers in government and his comment regarding health risks makes perfect sense.

      • r0b 7.1.1

        The answer I would have liked to have heard from Ryall was – “of course I have had my officials look in to this, and I am advised that such actions are not necessary at this time”. Passively sitting there and waiting for advice on obvious epidemic risk? Fail.

        • higherstandard

          Trying to spin this as a fail is a fail rob – I do note that they are providing free flu jabs for the population which is a sensible public health initiative

        • handle

          Canterbury’s public health service would automatically respond without waiting for the Minister to ask them. If they still have enough staff.

  7. nadis 8

    Remember back in the dark ages when Ministers had some initiative?
    No, are you talking about the 1960’s?

  8. Lanthanide 9

    Bernard Hickey was on National Radio earlier talking about the forthcoming AMI problems.
    He said it appeared the government and reserve bank were “well behind the curve” on it – messages he sent to them appeared to be the first they knew of any problems. He eventually got in touch with AMI board members and they didn’t know anything either. He said there was a downgrade from A+ to A- on the 24th of March by a ratings company for the insurance industry, so really the government should have been front-footing the issue.

    • Samuel Hill 9.1

      Oh but they had been “informed since the moment we took office” about SCF????

  9. BLiP 10

    This is just more of the board room management model National Inc™ has brought to politics. How can anyone be held accountable if some minion hasn’t told them about something? Even poor ole John Key didn’t know about the BMWs he signed off on until he was told by a Crown driver. As another famous watcher of the people was wont to say: “I zee nuffink, I hear nuffink, I know nuffink”

    • randal 10.1

      this only indicates they are manques.
      no knowledge of process or procedure.
      they will all be gone after november.
      they should all take my advice.

  10. HC 11

    Paula Bennett is definitely one of the most incompetent ministers in cabinet, she is not equipped with too much of the grey matter and tends to dodge questions and has no real answers. I am not at all surprised. She tows the National Party leadership line and does what is expected of her. She is getting spoilt with her high salary of about NZD 5000 per week, trying to dress fashionable, but with her size makes any dress look like a preggy dress (while not being pregnant). Once her mouth opens many intelligent people shiver in horror. There is little of substance and a lot of propaganda and trivial nonsense. Having given her that portfolio shows how little the National led government really cares about social welfare and the needy!

  11. burt 12

    I plan to take rapid decisive action. 

    I’m thinking about establishing an insurance company in Christchurch offering pre-quake prices for domestic and commercial properties. Ok, I might not be able to afford reinsurance for all of it but that’s OK – the govt will bail me out if I f##k up my private business really badly.

  12. tc 13

    Can’t help but wonder if some nat backers stand to gain from yet another private loss being made public with AMI……… It’s what they seem to do best as effective government is beyond them.

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