During the last Labour government the Kiwiblog Right used to call Wellington ‘Helengrad’, a play on Leningrad. Ironic then that, after the election of National, David Farrar humorously changed the name to ‘St Johnnysburg’, based on the Russian city’s czarist name. Because the Nats are making Labour look like amateurs when it comes to authoritarianism.
In an unprecedented move, National has forced government ministries to hire political appointees euphemistically called “purchase advisors”. These people aren’t public servants and they don’t sit within any legal system of public service accountability. Their appointment appears to breach section 33 of the State Sector Act (something to think about for the rightwingers before reflexively defending this) because they were handpicked by English but are employed out of departmental budgets.
They’re political spies. Their job is to bypass the structure that is set up to guarantee the neutrality and transparency of the public service and keep ministers at arms length from operational decisions. Far from restoring the supposedly lost neutrality of the public service, National is politicising it.