Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Prospects

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  • Matthew Poole,

    I think thousands is overstating things fairly massively. There aren't that many in Welly (where the question mark about public sector productivity hangs).

    Roughly 80% of the working population of Wellington works in the public service in one form or another. The 'crats may be centred on Wellington, but they're definitely not found only there. When Key starts rattling on about "the health bureaucracy" he's talking about DHBs over the entire country. WINZ is another nationwide centre of public servants. There are others. Thousands wouldn't be out of the realms of possibility. Even if there are only 200,000 public servants (and I'm sure the figure is much, much higher), only 1% being deemed surplus to requirements would be two thousand people hunting for jobs.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    So National is going into Government with Act because...?

    Roger Douglas isn't the leader. He's also been pretty definitively ruled out of cabinet, but that's not really the point is it? The only thing John Key could have ever done to make you happy is lose. Well, tough.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    . Breathe, people, and stop doing these eerie impersonations of Kiwiblog's more unmedicated residents.

    Patronising drivel, Craig, and you know it.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    well, for those of you who are a little upset about the result, consider that some of us are looking at our actual jobs disappearing.

    not getting your favourite party in power is less of an issue...

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Roger Douglas isn't the leader. He's also been pretty definitively ruled out of cabinet, but that's not really the point is it?

    Well, I'd like to know what the point is, then: a 73 year old statesman (ops! just puked in my mouth) doesn't come back to Parliament with the expectation to be a quiet backbencher. He's going to try to push his agenda and Act as a coalition party and having put him at number 3 on the list of course is going to do his bidding even if he doesn't become minister (and I agree that he won't). Act will get at least one cabinet post, wouldn't you say?

    There is nothing quite so easy to manipulate as a politician who purports or (worse) honestly believes to be post-ideological, and Key is just that. So if you don't mind, Craig, some of us might still receive Douglas' presence alone, let alone his public pronouncements, with some concern.

    The only thing John Key could have ever done to make you happy is lose. Well, tough.

    He could have told us in advance how he was going to govern, based on what principles. I tend to find that reassuring. Other than that, I think last night set him up quite neatly by highlighting in the starkest possible terms the difference in stature between himself and Clark. Let's see how measures up.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Also, I would like Robyn to liveblog my life.

    I'll second that.

    10.32 People are being awesome on PA System (as per usual).

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I'm unhappy about the result too, but remember that we have woken up in a working democracy, where the rule of law prevails, the sick and the poor and the elderly are helped, and children are at least given a chance of a decent education. Some of those things we could do better, but we could have done them better under the former Labour government.

    I'm not comfortable with Roger Douglas so close to the centre of power, but he's not in Cabinet yet, and and may never be.

    I think it's 'take a breath' time too. Although I didn't vote for Key, and wouldn't, and wouldn't vote for a party on the grounds of some vague thought about it being their turn (incredibly lazy thinking), I think we should reserve judgment on Key and his government until he has at least had a chance to actually do some things. Then we can sit around and bitch and moan all we like, or just maybe, thinking, well, "he did that okay," or even, "that was brilliant."

    Oh, Craig (I think it was your comment - apologies if it wasn't), the reason that we don't have people queuing at 6am in order to vote is that we have a very efficient and effective electoral system, and no one needs to queue for hours and hours in order to vote.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    dropping thousands of civil servants onto the dole queue is not something the country needs at this juncture. Even if they're not strictly necessary, it's better that they're employed, paying taxes, and supporting their families.

    When did Key say he was going to fire civil servants? He expressly said he would not be firing anyone, just that he would 'cap' the civil service at current levels. Any new staff placements would be filled from the existing ranks ie those staff not strictly necessary (as you put it).

    BTW - if you agree they're not strictly necessary (as you put it) can you explain why they should be entitled to a $50+k benefit? Other unemployed have to struggle on much less.

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Roughly 80% of the working population of Wellington works in the public service in one form or another. The 'crats may be centred on Wellington, but they're definitely not found only there. When Key starts rattling on about "the health bureaucracy" he's talking about DHBs over the entire country. WINZ is another nationwide centre of public servants. There are others. Thousands wouldn't be out of the realms of possibility.

    I'm fairly well aware of the composition of the Wgtn workforce, as I get to see it on daily basis on the way to work. I do think there is a little too much hysteria about this particular issue. If I recall, JK made a commitment to cap numbers, not to sack people willy nilly.

    You have a point about this not being the ideal time to sack large numbers of people economically, but in reality, it mass lay-offs isn't going to happen.

    Thousands won't be sacked, because quite simply an administration that presides over a running down of public services won't last more than a term.

    In my experience most politicians have a fairly healthy sense of self-preservation that will tend to see them shy away from doing things that will see them turfed from the treasury benches.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    well, for those of you who are a little upset about the result, consider that some of us are looking at our actual jobs disappearing.

    Yeah, my brother's girlfriend is in the same situation. She's the Parliamentary Secretary to a Labour MP who just lost his swing seat and doesn't get in on the list, so now she'll be hunting for a job. Some people are already out of work, but that's just the nature of working for government. She was pretty sure it was coming, but that doesn't make it any easier.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    well, for those of you who are a little upset about the result, consider that some of us are looking at our actual jobs disappearing.

    not getting your favourite party in power is less of an issue...

    I can sympathise. I can't quite shake my own fears about where I might be in a little while. I guess the only real answer is to carry on doing what I was always supposed to do - work efficiently, accurately and fairly - and hope for the best.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1611 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I just tried burying my head in the quicksand to see how it felt. Well ...it felt like suffocation. For a time when the world has shouted that greed is not good, that self interest is detrimental to a healthy society, NZ (with its infinite wisdom) decides that right and far right is the path to follow. SHEEEZ!

    I think thousands is overstating things fairly massively. There aren't that many in Welly (where the question mark about public sector productivity hangs).

    I guess his reliance on 36 of them wont be needed anymore.

    Douglas can have all the plans he like, they don't actually mean jack shit

    I guess he can fill the gap that Winston has shelved. Frankly Winnie was a walk in the park, compared to what Douglas feels like .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Patronising drivel, Craig, and you know it.

    No, what I know is that if it had gone the other way and the Whale Oils et. al. were going off some of the rhetorical deep ends I'm seeing around here in a matter of hours, the reaction would be much the same as mine.

    Though to be scrupulously fair, nobody has gone into the same hyperbolic sewer as (guess who?) Chris ("courageous corruption"/"gang rape") Trotter:

    Well, the New Zealand Left has woken up to its very own 9/11.

    That's not only fucking patronising (and it just gets worse), it's actively contemptible comparing losing an election to terrorist attacks that killed thousands of people whose only sin was boarding the wrong plane at the wrong time, or just going to work.

    Once more, I'll congratulate Clark on dealing with what must have been a brutal personal and political disappointment with class, dignity and genuine respect for the will of the electorate -- including those who didn't vote the way she would have liked. Helen has my respect because she earned it.

    Trotter and Co. -- drop the C and the L from "class", and you're not far wrong.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    Well, I'd like to know what the point is, then: a 73 year old statesman doesn't come back to Parliament with the expectation to be a quiet backbencher.

    Douglas came back to a party dead in the water. He came back to bring original supporters back into the fold. And he brought donors with him. Without Douglas Act would have gone the same way as United Future.

    And no, I'm not an Act supporter.

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    I guess his reliance on 36 of them wont be needed anymore.

    I'm intrigued. 36 of who?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    John, not strictly necessary doesn't mean absolutely unnecessary. And as for $50k+, tell that to my civil servant brother who's getting $30k-ish.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Jerome Kerviel,

    The only thing John Key could have ever done to make you happy is lose. Well, tough

    Yes you're right, I would have been very happy if John Key lost but I'm not sure how stable a country it would be if he did after the last election and after months of strong pro-National polling. (I might have even been happy if Bill English were prime minister right now instead of John Key.)

    In a democracy approx. 50% of people will never be happy. To be honest I'm rather gleeful about being sympathetic to a party in opposition. It's our turn to be the whiners now. In fact it's our prerogative.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    After listening to political commentators over the weeks, I would like to nominate Brent Edwards for the position of Man of the Year.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    John, not strictly necessary doesn't mean absolutely unnecessary. And as for $50k+, tell that to my civil servant brother who's getting $30k-ish.

    $30k-ish implies actual service delivery, as opposed to back office boffin, so I suspect your brother is probably fairly safe.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I just tried burying my head in the quicksand

    Permission to use that...

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jerome Kerviel,

    Maybe asking the question about how the public service can best serve the public is something that we should all do regularly, regardless of political leaning.

    Have you considered the slim chance that we might do that already? You know with the annual budget cycle, laws, policy development and whatnot?

    Not to mention govt spending and performance is regularly monitored by the O of the Auditor-G? And the fact that Labour has been in for 9 years does not mean govt departments have been immune to restructuring and down-sizing? On that the parties are fairly similar so...

    I think thousands is overstating things fairly massively. There aren't that many in Welly (where the question mark about public sector productivity hangs).

    It's amazing to me that you have failed to notice the odd thousand or so civil servants living in this city. Have you not been to The Terrace on a week day lunch-time recently?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    "Trotter and Co. -- drop the C and the L from "class", and you're not far wrong."
    What happened to free speech? Craig some of your own comments are pretty extreme. If it is part of the fabric of debate to use excessive rhetoric to make a point then let the reader be the judge.
    It seems likely that since Key cannot get stuff done unless Act agrees, then it follows that Act has the whip.
    And has Key the skill and the wit to negotiate successfully. Mmmmm.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    sagenz

    You will see him being re established in public mind over the next few years.

    You do get some things right, even if accidentally. Roger Douglas has not lost a second to re-establish himself in the public mind. Many will have forgotten and for many it will be new but his utterly graceless, humourless remarks last night will be a useful reminder to the one, and an eye opener to the other.

    And as for the:

    Any betting that [Helen] does not have the grace to concede?

    I'd hope you had the grace to regret those words an hour later after Helen Clark's concession.

    I was puzzled by the drop off in the Green vote as predicted by the polls and surprised that NZF got as high as 4%. Was there some tactical voting here? Thank god it was not successful: I am grateful that NZF did not make it past the 5% cut off. It will be good not to have the "immigrant hordes" card played again.

    I am also puzzled by Green voting. For a party that only survives because of MMP the approach of its supporters to the electorate vote is truly surprising. In Ohariu, for example, Dunne's majority was 1170 but the Green candidate got 2229 votes. They really had a chance to get rid of the very person who kept the Greens out of power last time!! Go figure.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I'm intrigued. 36 of who?

    PUBLIC SERVANTS! See, apparently the country can do without them but his orifice requires that 36 are needed to tell him what to say, and research his well.... dunno really. Shit now we might get some policy. Maybe we could have just asked his staff.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    To be honest I'm rather gleeful about being sympathetic to a party in opposition. It's our turn to be the whiners now. In fact it's our prerogative.

    Yeah, but we're the whiners in a country where the largest daily paper is thoroughly compromised as a way of "keeping the bastards honest", and many of the other outlets are similarly slanted to one degree or another.
    Yesterday's whiners had a very sympathetic ear in Granny, and the DP hasn't exactly been a consistent bastion of impartiality, though it did at least try. Sometimes. Not sure what the ODT and Waikato Times look like, but given that they're part of the Fairfax stable I won't be holding out too much hope.

    Being a whiner is fine when you can get your message out. When you're stuck whining to each other, it gets tired very quickly.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

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