Which end to break the egg, and other pointless debates

Written By: - Date published: 12:29 pm, February 15th, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

The NZPA has revealed that Ministrial Services is employing fewer people on higher pay under the new National/ACT government than it did under the Labour-led government last year.

David Farrar is spinning this as great news, they’ve cut the number fo people the Government is employing ‘hurrah’. Without a trace of irony, he says the higher pay is justified because “the hours are bloody long in the Beehive!” Hmm, maybe they need to bring in some more staff.

Vernon Small, meanwhile, tries to drum up a mini-scandal by playing up the higher pay angle. I read the article at a cafe with a table of Lefties, showed it to them and the response was resigned shakes of the head and grunts that said ‘well, at least the media’s pulling the same silly shit on the new government too but can’t we have something decent instead?’

Frankly, both Farrar and Small’s arguments stem from dumb premises – Farrar’s that the Government employing people is bad, Small’s that the Government paying people high salaries is bad. If we want good government, we need to employ people and we need to pay enough to get good people but, of course, we want value for money too – so, there’s a good level of staff numbers and pay that’s more than zero and less than infinity. Given that, simply assuming it’s a good thing to cut the number employed or a bad thing to pay them more, without looking deeper to whether either of those decisions is going to deliver better value-for-money government, is flawed and lazy.

But, more than that, who gives a damn? We’re talking two dozen jobs gone and less than $10 million a year in wages employing 150. The government employs quarter of a million people and spends $7 million an hour, 24/365. It makes and enforces the rules that govern the lives of 4.25 million people and a $160 billion economy. Surely, there are bigger things that Small, if not Farrar, can be talking about.

22 comments on “Which end to break the egg, and other pointless debates”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    Roll up, roll up… watch as the Media Magicians distract you with their lovely assistant and a few cheap card tricks, hoping you don’t notice that the “underwater escape trick” went horribly wrong and the entire economy just drowned.

  2. Santi 2

    Talking about pointless debates, what do you have to say Mr. Pierson about Labour’s support to repeal the infamous EFA?

    An incredible change of heart? A u-turn of the highest order? An act of political cowardice? What?

    You’ve stayed silent on this topic for long, and after last year’s staunch defense of the EFA, you’re more than obliged to explain yourself.

    IrishBill: “obliged”? I think not. I think rather that you are obliged to show a little more politeness toward the blog owners. Especially if you wish to continue commenting.

  3. Ari 3

    An incredible change of heart? A u-turn of the highest order? An act of political cowardice? What?

    Perhaps a desire to be onboard as the new law is developed, and to save any objections for actual flaws in National’s proposals, once they release them? 😉

    Unlike the previous opposition, I don’t think this one really believes in criticising the government purely for drawing breath 🙂

  4. Paul Robeson 4

    not related, but
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10556868

    “These measures are controversial in a nation that views prison as a place for retribution rather than rehabilitation. Many states have a “three strikes” rule that means relatively petty criminals are given life sentences”

    nothing like ideas that work huh Rodney?.

  5. peteremcc 5

    Read the bill Paul,

    The three strikes we’re proposing applies only to serious violent and sexual offences.

    This is what the lefties are campaigning for in California.

    Also, if you actually do the math, no-one will probably get a third strike for around a decade. Plenty of time to build more prisons.

  6. RedLogix 6

    applies only to serious violent and sexual offences.

    Which is pretty much how these ideas gain respectibility. Few would defend the idea that this kind of very serious recividist should be not locked up long-term for the sake of public protection if nothing else. In fact if someone under the current regime commits three serious crimes of this sort they will likely get Preventative Detention… so what you are proposing mere formalises present practise, while taking away sentencing flexibilty from the Courts.

    But once introduced, how easy for pollies in their tri-ennial ‘tough on crime’ lawnorder auction… to quickly ramp up to the point where it becomes… “so there sonny, that was THREE bottles of beer you knicked….hehe so if we make each one a separate charge, that’s three strikes….”.

    You doubtless think I exaggerate, but there are plenty of examples out of the USA which come pretty damm close to this.

  7. Westminster 7

    Has anyone asked what the comparison is with the start of the previous government? I would have thought that would be closer to an apples and apples type comparison. It comes as no surprise that the end of a government would have reached a fairly steady state of ministerial advisers whereas a brand new government takes time to stock up.

  8. I don’t think the Government employing people is necessairly bad. In fact in some areas I support having more staff. I think the massive increase in Ministerial staff under Labour was unjustified as most office staff (not all) are political, and stuff like 47 press secretaries/comms staff was over the top.

    Also the assumption that more staff would mean less hours work, doesn’t apply for most of these jobs. Most of the political staff stay at work while the Minister is there, in case they are needed. Their long hours are not so much tied to workload, but requirements if the job.

  9. Obama kicked stupid arguments about irrelevant criteria in the teeth when he said: “The fundamental question of our time is not whether government is too big or two small, it will be whether it works.”

    Can someone please tell journos about this?

    It might make more of what they write worth reading.

    National (and therefore taxpayers) might benefit from knowing it, too.

  10. @ work 10

    “peteremcc
    Read the bill Paul,

    The three strikes we’re proposing applies only to serious violent and sexual offences.”

    Excluding assulting a child as per ACT’s policy I presume?

  11. Redbaiter 11

    “whether government is too big or two (sic) small, it will be whether it works.’

    Yeah right, that bat eared c*mm*e fool would say something like that.

  12. @ work 12

    Well he hits the nail pretty much on the head Redbaiter, care to explain to us why hes wrong?

  13. SBlount 13

    “The fundamental question of our time is not whether government is too big or two small, it will be whether it works.’

    If this idea was observed we would have a government half the size of our current one.

  14. @ work 14

    SBlount
    February 16, 2009 at 11:05 am
    “The fundamental question of our time is not whether government is too big or two small, it will be whether it works.’

    If this idea was observed we would have a government half the size of our current one.

    *Woosh*

  15. “stuff like 47 press secretaries/comms staff was over the top. ”

    “If this idea was observed we would have a government half the size of our current one.”

    I’m afraid the answer to these assertions is ‘sez you’

    And, Santi, for the record I don’t resile from my support of the EFA – the donations provisions are an important step in the right direction and National is keeping them, for now, at least. The problems around the definition of electoral ad stemmed from the literalist approach the EC decided to take, disgarding years of previous conventions in the process and the politically-motivated challenges under the EFA taken by groups, primarily by rightwing groups and primarily unsuccessfully, against their opponents

  16. Redbaiter 16

    “Well he hits the nail pretty much on the head Redbaiter, ”

    Thanks for that opinion public servant.

    “care to explain to us why hes wrong?”

    Who is “us”. Can you please identify who else it is you are speaking for?

    As for your question, I’d like to expand, but I don’t have the time. Here’s the truth. Government hardly ever works even when its small, and the chance of it working when its big are non existent- Here’s an example to feast on –

    Two stories from The Australian-

    In one story-

    “VICTORIA’S fire chiefs knew they were powerless to stop the fires rolling towards Kinglake on Black Saturday, but were unable to relay warnings to the residents in time.’

    In another story-

    “THE federal Government spent $60 million on early warning for tidal waves over the past four years, while cheaper phone alert systems for bushfires and floods went unfunded.’

  17. @ work 17

    Redbaiter
    February 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm
    “Well he hits the nail pretty much on the head Redbaiter, ‘

    Thanks for that opinion public servant.

    I always find it astonishing when people like you infer so much. You have no idea what I do for a job, and no way of knowing, I can assure you it’s private sector.

    “care to explain to us why hes wrong?’

    Who is “us’. Can you please identify who else it is you are speaking for?

    Every one who reads your pathetic excuse for a comment and is a measly mouthed, knuckle jaw and line dragging apologist for the faux-liberal conservative right you so exemplify. You have made an assertion with no proof, and only on kiwiblog would people take you at your assumptions. Either pony up with something substantial or go away.


    As for your question, I’d like to expand, but I don’t have the time. Here’s the truth. Government hardly ever works even when its small, and the chance of it working when its big are non existent- Here’s an example to feast on –

    Two stories from The Australian-

    In one story-

    “VICTORIA’S fire chiefs knew they were powerless to stop the fires rolling towards Kinglake on Black Saturday, but were unable to relay warnings to the residents in time.’

    In another story-

    “THE federal Government spent $60 million on early warning for tidal waves over the past four years, while cheaper phone alert systems for bushfires and floods went unfunded.’

    Don’t have time? Weak.

    So they weren’t able to warn every one, and less people would have helped, how?

  18. Redbaiter 18

    “I can assure you it’s private sector.”

    Thanks for that “assurance”.

    “Every one who reads your pathetic excuse for a comment ”

    OK. Do you see a psychiatrist regularly? Perhaps you should. Megalomania is an insidious disease.

    “less people would have helped, how?”

    Not less people you insane non-comprehending exasperating c*mm*e dickwad. Less government.

  19. northpaw 19

    RB,
    Megalomania is an insidious disease. A righton word, dude, tho seldom expressed. Like to explain why.? And how relevant it is here..

  20. Redbaiter 20

    “Like to explain why.?”

    No, not really. If you’re so fuck*ng stupid you cannot at this juncture identify the connection between @work claiming to speak for everybody who reads “The Standard” and delusions of grandeur, then I’d clearly be wasting my time.

    Go away you bore- stalk someone else with your unchallenging infantile sh*t.

  21. @ work 21

    Redbaiter

    Not less people you insane non-comprehending exasperating c*mm*e dickwad. Less government.

    You still can’t explain how less government could have warned more people. Though that’s a given, you’ll do anything to avoid the question, emperor having no clothes and all that.

    And speaking of bad comprehension, I claim to be speaking for “Every one who reads your pathetic excuse for a comment and [Edit: IS NOT] a measly mouthed, knuckle jaw and line dragging apologist for the faux-liberal conservative right you so exemplify” not every one reading The Standard.

  22. northpaw 22

    RB,
    Megalomania is an insidious disease

    Still stands, y’see. Now do us all a favor and answer my question. Yeah, a simple civil question requiring no more than a simple civil answer.

    You’ve either got it or you haven’t. And that, dude, is exactly what you know right now. (Helpfully) Careful, you might give yo’self away..

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  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • US imperialism, Huawei, racism and imperial anxiety
    by Tony Norfield US political opinion against China has two solid bases. The first is the longstanding racist and protectionist sentiment in the white working class; the second is a more recent anxiety about China’s economic prowess in America’s ruling elite. This article notes some historical aspects of anti-Chinese racism ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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