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Routine incompetence

Written By: - Date published: 7:12 am, March 8th, 2016 - 46 comments
Categories: accountability, national - Tags: , ,

From the party that brought you the Novopay debacle, the Auckland IT costing blowout, the unachievable Christchurch rebuild plan, the MBIE cost extravagances, the bungled charter schools mess, the embarrassing Auckland housing nonsense, the SERCO prison failures, the abolition of democracy in Canterbury, the Solid Energy fiasco, the negotiating disasters (with Sky City, Hollywood, Rio Tinto and Saudi millionaires), and so very much much more, comes the latest in this parade of National government cock-ups:

Government facing cost error at Health Ministry, and payroll woes at Mbie

The Government is facing dual crises in two of its biggest departments, with an office a refurb and payroll issue both turning sour.

A two-for-the-price-of-one bad news dump!

A multimillion-dollar miscalculation on the $24 million refit of the Health Ministry’s head office in 2014 has bought a strong rebuke from Treasury, accusing the ministry of “serious financial mismanagement”. … Independent auditors were called in to investigate how the ministry “miscalculated” the levels of its cash reserves, and came up short of funds for the refit.

And at Joyce’s MBIE:

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is facing a major problem in its payroll system that may affect up to 3000 employees. MBIE Minister Steven Joyce said the issue involved how holiday entitlements and shift pay were calculated. It could potentially involve millions of dollars …

See Labour’s press release on MBIE:

“Mr Joyce’s MBIE lurches from one debacle to the next. The common link in all of these things is a man not on top of his portfolios,” says David Clark.

Seriously, is this the least competent NZ government ever?

46 comments on “Routine incompetence ”

  1. Sabine 1

    it’s only imcompetence if ya did not mean it 🙂

  2. Ad 2

    Would have been a better look to upgrade Dunedin hospital before the Ministry headquarters. Hope their b/c included health outcomes. Yeah nah.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Obviously the solution is to defund MBIE and the MoH then sell them. No, wait, we already tried that.

  4. Dr. Curiosity 4

    Grey’s Law: “Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.”

  5. BM 5

    More public service incompetence.

    I agree with this comment

    Some big savings could be made from downsizing the Ministry of Health as they have 1,200 staff. Why do they need so many staff I ask. From their website – “The Ministry of Health is the government’s principal advisor on health and disability policy”. I can’t believe they need 1,200 staff to provide advice to the Minister. Again from their website in a vacancy listing for a recruitment person, the description includes the following “The Ministry of Health is going through an exciting period of transformational change as we reset the New Zealand Health Strategy and our own internal direction and priorities.” Perhaps the transformation they need is a new CEO and a big downsizing!

    Hopeless, out source the lot.

    • dv 5.1

      Worked well with Dick Smith BM

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      National’s solution to National’s incompetence. The problem is National. This is what I mean by electoral amnesia: it only takes a certain amount of time for people to remember what the National Party is: incompetent and corrupt, utterly devoid of insight or ethics.

  6. Lucy 6

    Notice that the only people to lose jobs are the finance people. Forecasting was wrong according to DG said finance thought it was $4 million but was $20 million. DG sacked most of finance but won’t offer resignation.

  7. Lucy 7

    Damn misheard the interview with DG finance budgeted $24M thought it was available then found they needed $18M so they had $6M not $24M. Surely if the budget was that far out the DG should at least ask questions especially as he is an accountant. He also could not say how much he had spent on PwC surely if you are going on radio you would prepare!

  8. BLiP 8

    Seriously, is this the least competent NZ government ever?

    No, not in terms of transferring wealth from the public purse to the private sector. How much do we all owe the Bank of America now? You have to also bear in mind the standard neoliberal process for privatisation.

    1 – underfund existing services and appoint fellow travellers into key positions so that services become so poor everyone starts moaning

    2 – blame the public servants

    3 – bring in private sector “partners” because TINA.

    So far as competently running that ruse, National Ltd™ is doing exceedingly well.

    • saveNZ 8.1

      +100 Blip.

      They are exceedingly competent if their agenda is to run everything down, put ‘yes’ cronies or neoliberal zombies into every position they can, from Mayor to University Chancellors, fire everyone else and outsource it to cronies and then sell off the assets to their other cronies, while writing glowing reports on how efficient this all is. Not to collect or manipulate statistics so that nobody can get firm data on the issues.

      In addition having MSM print government spin and press releases and news stories run through intermediaries going on how incompetent the opposition is.

      Has worked pretty well now, so far. But I suspect the wheels are starting to spin off…. because the country stops working after 8 years of pretending it’s working…

      • BLiP 8.1.1

        Sure, things are getting worse and worst but I don’t think the wheels have come off just yet, Its only the most vulnerable and marginalised in society who are really bearing the brunt at this stage. And, lets face it, does “mainstream New Zealand” really care about the marginalised? I guess it might but it won’t go out of its way to hear their stories and the MSM is colluding by not telling the stories. So, rather than the wheels falling off National Ltd™’s economic mayhem, I speculate that the government is actually about to change into third gear and bring in its major “private sector partners”. That’s what all this “social investment” neoliberal-speak is about.

        • saveNZ 8.1.1.1

          @Blip I agree with you but feel a bit more optimistic.

          Mainstream does care. That is why Campbell Live was canned. Too much real world information about what was going on. His donation campaigns were always successful. People do care. They just don’t know what is going on.

          Also traditional right wingers might be getting worried, 93% did not approve of Sky City convention centre and the farmers might be starting to notice they can’t pay their bills after being painted a rosy future by government and given wads of cash by the banks. Northland is a pretty good example of sending the government a message. Sounds like junior Nats are imploding.

          The IT council disaster will continue to haemorrhage Auckland ratepayers money forever. The unity plan is a disaster for Auckland and the democratic process a shambles. If a high rise NAT INC goes up next to the good people of Remuera, Epsom and Herne Bay we are going to hear a deep rumble and even legal action.

          I’m very optimistic that National will continue to haemorrhage support. What I am a bit less optimistic about is whether the opposition will seize the moment NOW and by diligent and hard work gain voters trust again and work together without slagging each other off to create a credible future government that does not pit Kiwis against each other in a Neoliberal Austerity soup policy that does not gain support and easily ridiculed by the Natz. If you rolled together the most popular policies from NZ First, Labour and Greens then you would have a much more palatable voting offer than the current Nat LITE + Unknown.

          • BLiP 8.1.1.1.1

            I admire your optimism and wish I could share in it. But, yeah, what is the opposition to do? The MSM is blocking news of the reality of National Ltd™’s policies so its very hard to get that message out. Instead, the temptation is to start releasing some policy but that’s exactly what National Ltd™ wants.

            John Key and his crew are so bereft of any ideas other than “leaving it up to the market” any policy whatsoever the Opposition puts up will be, first, ridiculed, and, should any portion of it resonate with the focus groups, stolen and watered down. Labour is being useless, as usual. Its cuddling up to National Ltd™’s proposed labour laws and looks like its going to fall over on the new SIS/GCSB increase in powers.

            The Greens are the only ones talking any sense.

            • saveNZ 8.1.1.1.1.1

              @Blip – agree with your analysis but how you beat bullies is to unite and stand up for what you believe in.
              Winston has admirers because of that. Maybe Labour and Greens are trying to stand up but not publicly enough in the sense that 95% of people do not listen to political speeches in Wellington! Needs a more mainstream way to publicise their ideas. And before you publicise them you should iron out all the potential issues…

              Also the opposition need to engage with social media!!! Just looked at Andrew Little’s Facebook page, personally didn’t know any of that stuff he’s been doing which sounds great although not much policy – but when people post, nothing from Andrew -at least a nice message would work and some sort of engagement. Also a bit of action on the hecklers would be amusing. Nearly 25k Likes

              Social media is how busy people, families with kids and young people engage now. You don’t win support by doing it all 6 months before an election – they need to start now! Social media is free and sustainable.

              Ps checked out James Shaw fb – he has managed to engage but not much policy or support – come on folks – like him – even if you are a labour supporter. 4k likes

              Metiria Turei – has zero engagement at all! No posts. Maybe it is a fake site coming up or she has it private. (not very transparent). zero likes I can make out. This is the party that is supposed to be trying to get the youth votes…. hmmm

              Winston peters has better FB talking about TPP, land sales and where he has been… No engagement I can see, but his looks the best so far in terms of policy with his personal movements. Nearly 25k likes

              Just some suggestions for the opposition!

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2

          So, rather than the wheels falling off National Ltd™’s economic mayhem, I speculate that the government is actually about to change into third gear and bring in its major “private sector partners”. That’s what all this “social investment” neoliberal-speak is about.

          More social-engineering as they create the most poverty this country has seen in nearly a century just so a few people can cater to their greed.

  9. Jenny Kirk 9

    and meanwhile the online media (Stuff and NZ Herald) pay very little attention to the Govt’s economic incompetence. And it appears the PM’s burglaries are of more importance at his press conference. Disgraceful.

    • DTH 9.1

      Yes, although to be fair, I found it quite interesting. When reading about our ridiculous prime minister screaming at the sight of an intruder I immediately thought,
      GET SOME GUTS!
      I guess this only applies to sending some one else to do it for you. Really gutsy.

  10. dv 10

    AND the 1m by Defence!!!

  11. roy cartland 11

    To be incompetent you actually have to give a shit in the first place. I agree with BLiP here – they simply don’t work for us, as they continually and openly prove.

    • TC 11.1

      Staged distraction ……business as usual. Opposition seem completely incapable of using what minimal exposure they get to hammer the theme of incompetance.

      This allows the msm to peddle the bs spin about what great managers they are as the feckless opposition allow it.

  12. Dot 12

    YES
    and history will show this.

  13. Ssor 13

    I’m not sure I understand how it is Nationals fault for the Auckland Council IT issues?
    I’m not sure why you think the Charter Schools have been a “bungled mess” -sure one failed but have you ever visited the other successful charter schools to see the fantastic work they do were the public schools were unable to – and “no” they do not receive more funding per student.
    Is SERCO a real failure?? The Corrections department run prisons have similar issues.
    Some commenters here should try focusing on “what’s going right” -its a much better way to live than waiting for the sky to fall.

    • saveNZ 13.1

      @Ssor

      “The Auckland Transitional Authority did not conduct a public tender. Instead, as acting local government minister John Carter confirmed later that year in response to a question from Labour’s Phil Twyford, the contract was awarded to a group of four companies led by SAP after a “discussion”. The minister said he had “every faith that the Auckland Transition Agency, and particularly the new council, will deliver a grand service for the people of Auckland.”

      In a commentary accompanying his report, O’Neill noted the opacity of the ATA’s way of working and the difficulty in getting officicial information. He wrote:

      There are signs building of a serious backlash against the way the Auckland Supercity is being implemented. Whether it’s the way executives are being recruited or the way the Council-controlled organisations are being reorganised, it looks increasingly as if the entire effort is being driven out of Wellington — and that’s making Aucklanders uncomfortable.”

      He concluded that hope that Aucklanders would have to hope their shiny new council “is not hamstrung by decisions now being made by unelected officials.”

      http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/the-unstable-supercity/

    • joe90 13.2

      ever visited the other successful charter schools

      Only in wingnut land would one of four meeting their obligations be successful.
      /

      Four charter schools were awarded $60,000 in performance payments last year, despite only one of them fully meeting the terms of their contracts.</i?

      http://thestandard.org.nz/charter-schools-paid-ideology-bonuses/

  14. Steve Withers 14

    Looking further back we have INCIS, abolishing apprenticeships and the horrendous electricity reforms of the previous National government……

    National are clearly unfit to be considered as a serious governing alternative……but the BELIEF of their voters is the opposite….and never mind all the evidence.

    • TC 14.1

      IMO people vote on selfish grounds like no CGT, buying gilt edged utility shares etc

      Most know how shonky this mob are but self interest buys votes, nact work on that basis and the apathy that is the non voting third.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Seriously, is this the least competent NZ government ever?

    Considering that their job of to destroy government and privatise everything so as to return us to feudalism. Yes it is as they’re succeeding without people realising it.

  16. slumbergod 16

    Absolutely incompetent. Also the most selfish, narrow-sighted, and least caring govt in the history of New Zealand.

  17. Gangnam Style 17

    No no no no, it’s all Labours fault http://www.nzcpr.com/progressive-education-a-failure/

  18. Lanthanide 18

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/77652198/state-payroll-blunder-may-be-widespread-hitting-private-workers-too

    Still no details on what the actual problem is.

    My guess is that it relates to the payment of bonuses (and other payments earned) in the previous 12 months being calculated as part of holiday pay. This part of the law has always seemed a bit peculiar to me – when I worked at The Warehouse and took some annual leave, the rate paid was something like 20c / hour more than my regular pay, because of bonuses I’d received in the previous 12 months.

    It makes sense for people who are primarily paid on commission or have very irregular working hours, but for someone with regular hours it’s a bit of a weird rule.

    Anyway, if that is the cause of this problem, you can bet that National will blame Labour for passing the 2004 legislation. And I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with National on that point.

    Recently there was some discussion from the government that they were looking to simplify that particular aspect of the law, since it’s overly complex and hard to administer at the moment.

    • Roflcopter 18.1

      Yup, looking like it’s related to The Holidays Act…. could affect both public and private sector, and if true then Labour are wholly to blame for their incompetence.

      • Lanthanide 18.1.1

        “and if true then Labour are wholly to blame for their incompetence.”

        Er, no. The government creates the laws, and people follow them. If people fail to follow them, they are at fault for failing to follow the law.

        Labour will cop some blame for passing legislation that is too complex and therefore not fit-for-purpose, but they are far from “wholly to blame”.

        I was more making the point that National should be taking very little blame in this case as it wasn’t their legislation, and expecting a new government to come in and review all existing procedures, policies and software used by government departments is simply laughable.

    • Lucy 18.2

      I agree with the no details bit – incredible sloppy journalism does no one know what the problem is? Actually Lanthanide once legislation – especially employment legislation is passed it is up to payroll experts to get their head around it and make sure it is in the payroll system.
      The fact that this was not done for 12 years and so people have gone without entitlements shows how poor the protection for workers has become. There is an agreement about poorly constructed legislation but it does point to the gutting of the public service and the unions over the last 35 years.
      If the law is so bad it can not be implemented then it makes you wonder what other laws have bits that have been overlooked and what affect these will have on our rights and obligations

      • Lanthanide 18.2.1

        My comment at 18.1.1 should make my position clearer and address your comment.

    • Craig H 18.3

      “The problem came to light after police and more recently staff at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) were underpaid because of an error calculating their holiday pay and shift entitlements.”

      Based on that, I would guess that they haven’t included shift entitlements and allowances in the relevant daily pay calculations, or have calculated them wrong. That would also explain the police’s issue.

  19. ScottGN 19

    What with Todd Barclay, MBIE payroll debacle, Ministry of Health coverup and we learn today the backdown by Michael Woodhouse over Zero Hours contracts Mr Key could really do with a photo-op like this
    http://i.cbc.ca/1.3480107.1457389432!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/toronto-justin-trudeau-pandas.jpg

  20. Smilin 20

    Its Natcorps continual bias against a social democracy that is the problem ,they will not concede that much of what Labour did in office was sound principled and frugal
    Key and his constant reference to the excuse of the so called financial crash of 2008 being the cause of the need for change in the actions of the govt was just BS
    Take the bailout legislation. Key could have called it for what it was, a rort of the taxpayers money but instead to save his political voters face he blamed Labour for its inception ,you cant have it both ways
    He could of pulled it under the emergency powers of the type he used in Canterbury but instead let ride for the favour of his vote for the next election ,unadulterated party politics being used as a lever to create further financial loss, pushed under the carpet and instilling the blame on Labour
    The constant process of the market regulating itself more BS nothing but .Natcorps failure to govern in the interest of the nation is all too clear, beni bashing, selling state housing to the never fail get out of doing anything to stop the growing national debt ,selling the country in so called free trade which is in the case of China is just a take over by them of us.
    And failure to force the corporation’s to take responsibility for their pollution and carbon emissions
    Derision of the rights of Unions, running down of the service section of what is govt responsibility to maintain that is core of govt responsibility, not a license to privatise by whatever means you can hide from the public, Dirty Politics
    Selling the research and educational institutions to private enterprise to balance the books and tax breaks to the rich to gain overall control of the country so that agreements like TPPA can control our future
    Just like GALLIPOLI we become canon fodder for the rest of the world to run our country
    Up yours Key you oughtta be ashamed of yourself but you don’t have a conscience that’s for real or integrity so is it any wonder you do what you do u FAH

  21. Thankfully there is video of Parliament. Jonathan Coleman can get a copy of his performance from today. He is to be congratulated on the quality and competence of his effort to prove his incompetence. He succeeded brilliantly.

    Remember the old World War 2 cry of ‘this was their finest hour’? He can archive the clip and on watching it repeat to himself, “This was my finest 15 minutes.”

  22. Stuart Munro 22

    Future generations will know who they have to thank that NZ is a bankrupt wilderness with walled corporate cities. Our government have betrayed us – their rule of law no longer binds – Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, / The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned.

  23. gnomic 23

    Shurely other contenders for worst PM of all time must be Holyoake for doing sod all when action was urgently required, and traitor to the nation ‘Sir’ Robert Cackle Cackle Dulmoon?

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