Just before the parliamentary recess National released its latest set of Laura Naude targets. The Herald’s chief National promoter John Armstrong says they are undoubtedly drawn from focus groups, and therefore a sign of Key’s political genius. They will join all the others now discarded or discredited – catching up with Australia, jobs from the cycleway, government surplus by 2014, yadda yadda yadda.
I can’t think of a single target National has actually met – certainly not ones for economic growth. These targets are not designed to be met; they are just makework to give the impression of activity, and provide fodder for uncritical media. None of them take the country forward.
As for the political genius of performance bonuses for departmental chief executives who are supposed to actually meet these targets, all on their own of course, it’s plain simple mad. Just look at what has happened to Barclay’s Bank, fined approximately $600million because its managers were fudging their figures to manipulate the key LIBOR interest rate. Artificial targets produce artificial behaviour.