Shane Jones wants to shit kick through bureaucratic brick walls

Shane Jones is promoting more power for politicians over public servants, and has claimed it takes too long to have funding allocated to projects. This is a bit scary given the amount of money he has to hand out to the regions, but it is on his personal wish list and he didn’t speak on behalf of the Government.

Stuff: NZ First’s Shane Jones wants ministers to have more power over public sector

Cabinet Minister Shane Jones, says he would like to “soften that line” between governance and the bureaucracy, including allowing ministers to appoint top officials.

In an interview on the provincial growth fund Jones, the Regional Development Minister railed against a bureaucratic system he characterised as a “treacle-riddled”, slowing down process around funding economic projects, without evidence of improved efficiency.

This is scary given Jones’ short record to date in proposing funds for shaky projects and then claiming he forgot about getting advice pointing out serious shortcomings.  See Shane Jones ‘genuinely forgot’, Sage ‘memory let her down’.

“I’m looking forward to fighting an election to change the way that politicians relate to the bureaucracy,” Jones said.

“I know we have this separation of governance and the bureaucracy, but I’m really attracted to the idea where the Aussies have softened that line, and key ministers bring in their s…-kickers to get things done. That’s always been my preference.”

I’m sure a number of ministers would like to shit kick their policies through bureaucratic brick walls, but there are good reasons to have some checks on impatient and extravagant politicians.

Jones said his comments were not Government policy and were “not consistent with the State Services Act” but were ones he would like to campaign on in the future.

Campaigning on bureaucrat bashing may win some votes from the plebs, but it should meet resistance from Parliamentary voters.

Among other things the State Sector Act gives the State Services Commissioner the power over chief executive appointments, without influence from the Beehive, at least in theory.

Unlike many other countries, public servants are required to act in a politically neutral way.

The Public Services Association warned in December that the influence of ministerial advisors, Beehive staff which are appointed to serve the interests of their minister, are undermining this neutrality.

This aim at public service neutrality may be flawed but it is very important in New Zealand. Giving more power to ministers, unfettered by public servants, would be a big risk as we don’t have checks and balances that other countries have – no Lords and no Senate to oversee Parliament.

A much more powerful Jones in charge is something we should be very wary of.

Jones followed up the interview on Facebook:

“Surely I’m not the only one who would like to see less bureaucracy in this country? Meeting high governance and probity standards should not come at the expense of efficiency and pace in my books”.

He wants to have the power to push through what he wants at the expense of probity standards?

That should be a worry with any Minister. Especially so of Jones given his record to date.

Allowing Ministers to shit kick through the bureaucracy would be a very risky removal of one of the few means of checks and balances we have.

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15 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  April 26, 2018

    [Deleted – don’t make assertions about what others might think. PG]
    Murray had no trouble giving away 11 million to an Arab sheik!

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 26, 2018

      The only one who seems happy about that is you.
      You must be happy about it, Blazer – you bring it up at every opportunity you can 😉

      Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 26, 2018

    Ministers with more power must have more responsibility and be easier to jail if they stuff up.

    Reply
  4. artcroft

     /  April 26, 2018

    Shane’s latest press release reads : Many in the press are questioning my reasons for appointing my wife and children, cousins and whanau to senior roles within whatever ministry it is that I’m in charge off. What the press needs to understand is that I am doing this for the benefit of NZ. Take my youngest son for instance. He is a s**tkicker IT guy with many top scores in Facebook. NZ can’t be letting this talent go to waste or spend years developing over rated ‘experience’. The little fella will sort out MDIE quick as from his new office in Kaitaia. NZ will be the better for it.

    Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  April 26, 2018

    Hon Shane Geoffery Jones, PCn, FCOTP, talking BS again. If a Minister wants to shit-kick something through the bureaucrats faster than the normal process, they can !

    The only thing is they have to share the blame if it’s a bad idea that goes belly up.

    Reply
  6. sorethumb

     /  April 26, 2018

    One of the reasons the US is in such dire straits is it doesn’t have a neutral public service like we do in NZ. All the top officials are political appointments. Kiwblog
    ……….
    You mean like Susan Devoy
    Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has objected to a Dunedin man’s claims that supporters of te reo Māori are “boring bigots”.

    “Anyone who complains about te reo Māori being used and celebrated in this country need to get one thing straight: this is New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand – so get used to it,” Devoy said.
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/99218710/this-is-new-zealand-get-used-to-it-dame-susan-devoy

    Reply
  7. Pickled Possum

     /  April 26, 2018

    “Surely I’m not the only one who would like to see less bureaucracy in this country? Meeting high governance and probity standards should not come at the expense of efficiency and pace in my books”.
    A wee gem there Shane.

    Reply
  8. PartisanZ

     /  April 26, 2018

    @PG – “This is scary given Jones’ short record to date in proposing funds for shaky projects and then claiming he forgot about getting advice pointing out serious shortcomings.”

    Well, um, no! Jones has a record to date of proposing funds for JUST ONE shaky PROJECT (singular), which has been sorted out in ample time … among many projects that appear perfectly sound … Or perhaps Far North residents DON’T want an upgraded BOI Airport at Kerikeri, a new $9 million roundabout at Waipapa, a Cultural Centre at Opononi …???

    It’s the undemocratic ‘plague’ of Ministers having unbridled power in Aotearoa NZ that is scary and there’s absolutely nothing new about that … Jonesy reiterating it or demanding even more is like one of those sudden ‘frights’ you get in a horror movie!

    ‘Cabinet Rules OK’ is one of Sir Geoffrey Palmer & Andrew Butler’s prime motivations for wanting a codified Constitution for this country …

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  April 26, 2018

      PZ: “Well, um, no! Jones has a record to date of proposing funds for JUST ONE shaky PROJECT (singular)”

      Spending a very large set amount of money per annum in the form of a slush fund rather than targeted spending on projects based purely on merit is a recipe for disaster. That one current example will be but one of a long line of dodgy projects that will come out over time.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  April 26, 2018

        Depends how you define “merit” PDB … “Merit” to you would no doubt mean “makes a significant bottom-line profit”?

        Actually I reckon ‘Waste-to-Energy’ has considerable merit, only not that particular project.

        Much better to have an East-West Link in Auckland eh? With a Cost:Benefit Ratio in 2015 of just 1.9 BEFORE substantial increases in costs! (A Cost:Benefit Ratio of less than 2 is considered weak) …

        And speaking of irresponsible Ministers and bureaucrats … “Just to reiterate that astounding point: the NZTA’s own economist says there is no new benefit:cost analysis and they don’t think there should be one. Williamson also said: “Based on all the information available, I am confident that the economic benefits of the Project will outweigh the economic costs (especially if the construction costs are not included).” … So: just, “trust me” and by the way we’re not counting the cost of building the thing!?”

        https://thespinoff.co.nz/auckland/23-06-2017/i-have-not-quantified-the-benefits-the-astonishing-truth-about-nzs-most-expensive-road-ever/

        Reply

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