Too many ministers

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, December 16th, 2011 - 16 comments
Categories: act, maori party, national, united future - Tags:

Brian Fellow wrote a piece in the Herald yesterday on how NZ has too many ministers. Hard not to agree. 28 ministers. Nearly half of the governing parties’ MPs. 90+ portfolios. Ministerial warrants are clearly being used to keep backbenchers and minor parties in line. Too many do nothing ministers on big salaries while the rest of us have to cut back.

16 comments on “Too many ministers”

  1. insider 1

    The easiest way to cut the number of ministers is to reduce ministerial interference in our lives. But many on here seem to want the govt to more and more.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Your neocon memes are pathetic. Take your grievances to John Key, he is the one signing all these Ministerial warrants, jobs for the right wing boys don’t you know.

      • insider 1.1.1

        Pretty much the same number as under Clark I understand.

        Do you not see the contradiction in asking for fewer ministers yet continually demanding “the minister” get involved in managerial issues? This kind of kneejerk reaction to relatively minor issues as well as inclination expect 100% awareness of everything going on everywhere and to blame them for bookkeeping type errors keeps dragging ministers down the decision making tree. It feeds on itself and means you need lots of ministers to manage.

  2. Interestingly John Pagani also wrote a similar piece yesterday.

    It was in theory what he’d change about MMP, but many of his changes had nothing to do with MMP. That said, his ideas to reduce the number of ministers and those in cabinet (giving those actually in cabinet super-portfolios) were indeed hard to disagree with. He had 9-10 in cabinet, and a total of 20 ministers as his numbers. Doesn’t sound bad.

    Strengthening committee chairs roles and salaries to strengthen parliament and holding the government to account, lessening ministers salaries so it’s not so hard to sack them / have them resign on point of principle. All sound good.

    Looks like Mallard agrees on reducing number of ministers too.

    • Shane Gallagher 2.1

      Why? We give MPs the power to run the entire country. Then only half of them actually have a real say in how this is done (now changing that would be truly revolutionary), and then even less have any genuine power. The fewer people you have as minsters the less talent and ability is focussed on these very difficult jobs. If anything we should be sharing those jobs around more and making the MPs work harder for their money. Maybe there should be job sheets to show what the MPs have been doing each week. 🙂

      I really don’t like the “less ministers” meme – it is like the “less MPs” meme – fewer people means the power is more concentrated and less representative.

      • Ben Clark 2.1.1

        There are other jobs to do beyond being a minister. Which is why I particularly like the idea of bolstering the select committee roles. Make that a career path. You get to hold enquiries, hold the government to account, add ideas to legislation, make sure laws are high quality etc etc. Look at Britain’s select committee enquiries into media corruption etc as well.

        The fewer MPs meme is more to your point of less representation – as we have in Auckland, with fewer councillors than MPs! Makes it hard to get input in, and our Local Boards are very small as well, if you want to have a say there.

        But Parliament is not just about government. That may be the exciting bit, where you get to “do stuff”. But we need them there as a watchdog as well, to make sure that the ministers do the right stuff.

        • Ari

          Yep, save ministers for truly broad and important policy areas, and let specialists chair committees as issues become pressing. Sounds like a great idea, and it could also be excellent for backbenchers who might get in on those committees, too.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Only one question needs to be asked: Why do we still use a secretive, dictatorial, government model?

  4. Francisco Hernandez 4

    There’s no such thing as too much ministers. It’s a ring-wing line designed to de-collectivize society.

    I would like a ministry of 121 ministers

    • Hami Shearlie 4.1

      All on the back-benchers salary? With deductions for making boo-boos! I can hardly wait! LOL

  5. Bob Stanforth 5

    I will absolutely take what you say seriously Z – when you point me towards the exact same post you made when labour was in power and HC increased the number to, erm, 28 🙂

    • chris73 5.1

      Oh come now, those were completely different circumstances

      • Bob Stanforth 5.1.1

        True – the leader of a minority government trying to stitch up support to retain power. Hugely different 🙂

    • lprent 5.2

      It’d be hard here. The site only started in August 2007, well after that change. We daily get more comments here these days than we got in a month then. Prior to that you’d have to look at Public Address and or the few brave left souls who descended into the sewer.

      You’re talking when 2005? Long before the blogosphere inflated like the early universe in terms of participants or comments. Most of the blog sites from that era probably only exist in the National Library if anywhere.

  6. Hami Shearlie 6

    When you see the likes of Jonathon Coleman, (known by the misnomer “Maestro” and one of the weakest links in National’s Cabinet) firing nearly all of his staff just before Christmas, presumably because they didn’t make him look good(an impossible task) it does make you think that a few less ministers would be good. There are so many totally useless ministers in National’s Cabinet – but then they need the big bump-up in salary – as Tariana said, “I’m a big spender!”

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