No Minister

Corruption is about more than money

with one comment

Over at the blog, Offsetting Behaviour, Eric Crampton has an excellent post tying together news about a number of very poor government actions in the case of saliva testing:

Rako’s saliva testing was up and running from January. We could have been running accurate saliva-based PCR testing at scale since then. The incompetent Ministry of Health got bad advice from incompetent advisors who had not been able to make PCR saliva testing work on their own. That led Bloomfield to repeatedly make assertions about the inaccuracy of saliva testing at the 1pm standups. He was wrong every time. 

Then they ran a fundamentally flawed procurement process riddled with conflicts of interest that led to the awarding of the saliva testing contract to a provider with which the Ministry was well familiar, but which had no appropriately validated test. 

We still have no deployment at scale of saliva-based PCR testing. Rako provides its testing to private clients. 

We could have had mass deployment of far more rapid, and accurate, saliva-based PCR testing in every outbreak since January. It would have found and stopped things faster.

You can add this post to one that David Farrar did a couple of months ago, Govt plans to confiscate private testing labs, which detailed government plans for just taking over Rako.

As Crampton sums up:

So we’ve wound up with botched procurement on covid testing, no real capacity to deploy at scale, massive public health cost, and consequent threats enacted through legislation to just steal all of the testing capacity from the provider who can deploy at scale. 

I do not understand how New Zealand maintains a clean record on corruption indices. Is everywhere else really that much worse? Or is it that passing legislation allowing this kind of expropriation doesn’t count as corruption because it’s all in the open and legitimized by Parliament?

I think we’ve reached the point where, at a minimum, the Ministry of Health has to be completely destroyed and then re-built into a much smaller, focused advisory group, possibly with a research wing attached. Right now it’s not fit for purpose being huge, wasteful and incompetent – and possibly corrupt.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 12, 2021 at 12:19 pm

One Response

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  1. Tom, you must improve your spelling.

    “Right now it’s not fit for purpose being huge, wasteful and incompetent – and manifestly corrupt.


    November 12, 2021 at 3:08 pm

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