No Minister

There shall be minor changes

with 19 comments

Upon the accession to government of the next National-led coalition in 2023 or 2026.

Such will be the case across-the-board as National grapples with failing health and education systems, as well as other government organs, by tweaking the systems and putting more capable people in charge.

But that won’t change the medium-long term trajectory of those institutions, and the following graph shows the entire strategy of National in a nutshell.

I’ve shamelessly stolen this from the Taxpayers Union via Kiwiblog, where DPF is using it to make a quite justified attack on the standard practice of Labour governments that more government means more societal good and more government translates into more bureaucrats.

But unlike DPF here’s the thing that sticks out to me. Yes, the Key government managed to plateau this ludicrous growth in the number of bureaucrats, increasing the number by a mere 2000 over nine years compared to an increase of 14,000 under the Clark governments.

But they did not shrink it, let alone shrink it back to that of the year 2000, and thus it lay ready to be exploded again by the next Labour government, as it has been.

Even from a population perspective it’s not good. In 2000 we had 28,000 ‘crats for a population of about 3.8 million, one ‘crat for every 136 subjects. In 2020 the ratio is one ‘crat for every 83 subjects of the government.

So this basically means that National could drop the numbers back to about 36,000. I can imagine the screams and the pain, and that blue section of the graph indicates that it won’t happen.

Instead I can guarantee you that this process will be repeated when a National-led government comes to power in 2023 or 2026; a plateau for a few years followed by another explosion in the number of bureaucrats with a Labour-led government circa 2032 or 2035.

As with almost everything, Labour leads and National follows.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 29, 2021 at 4:38 pm

19 Responses

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  1. Whadya mean 2026?


    December 29, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    • Given Ardern’s ongoing popularity, and hence that of the Labour government attached to her coat tails, plus the solidity of those Green voter numbers, I think you should gird your loins for a Green-Labour government in 2023.

      I fully expect Labour to lose a lot of seats after the one-off of 2020, but the CR and CL will be level pegging and I see ACT as slightly less acceptable to New Zealand culture than the Greens.

      Tom Hunter

      December 29, 2021 at 4:45 pm

  2. And another question: can you add a second line of population? Your point valid of course. Lots of tut tutting from National and no action. That’s been the story forever. Will it be different this time? If ACT is an equal partner then we might be in luck.


    December 29, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    • Will do, plus commentary.

      Tom Hunter

      December 29, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    • ‘Lots of tut tutting from National and no action.’

      Really? You fellows make Trump Derangement Syndrome seem like like a minor ailment.

      Have you never heard of Tony Ryall or Bill English?

      If I were you I’d trot off and have a gargle of Ivomectin.


      December 29, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    • Admired both of them, and you forgot Steven Joyce. One of the most effective Ministers in my lifetime.

      But that’s not the point, Adolf. They managed a creaking system better (much better) – but the system never shrank in the slightest and was sitting there, just waiting for the next Labour government to pump it up further.

      At this rate I’ll have to wait for some future Roger Douglas-type from within Labour to recognise that this pattern cannot continue. Right now we’re at this point…

      “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.

      Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or it they try, they will shortly be out of office.” – Milton Friedman

      Tom Hunter

      December 29, 2021 at 5:48 pm

  3. Tom, you’re looking for a Kiwi version of Donald Trump. What do you think the media, the public service, the bludgers and Labour would do to him or her?

    Don’t blame National for doing what is necessary to be re-elected by voters of whom most are fuckwits.

    Only a cataclysmic earthquake will change the electorate. Maybe an invasion by China to establish South Pacific air and naval bases with slaughter of 20,000 civilians.


    December 29, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    • Trump drastically cut regulations but I doubt the US Federal government shrunk much on his watch and he failed to fire drones like Fauci at all and failed to fire drones like Comey until too late.

      I’m not even looking for somebody as revolutionary as Douglas, just somebody who will drastically cut these numbers, that’s all. Outside of Wellington I wouldn’t think there’s huge opposition to such cuts. Phase II would be going after the similar layers of uselessness in Local Government not by firing but by re-writing the Acts that have led them down so many rabbit holes.

      Only a cataclysmic earthquake will change the electorate.

      Assuming that’s true perhaps we’re better off having a Labour government for another two terms or more so that the self-destruction will be undeniable and the impetus to properly and fundamentally fix things will no longer be stymied.

      Tom Hunter

      December 29, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    • Drumpf was a FAKE populist, He bragged about increasing black employment and forcing Africa to go gay in is re election campaign LOL.

      Meanwhile 3rd world immigration continued unabated, Israel was given everything on its wish list. Silicon Valley completed its purge of any authentic right conservative voices on the internet. Trump lured his supporters into a set up in DC and left them to be tortured in prison for “nsurrection”.


      December 29, 2021 at 8:43 pm

  4. National is Labour Lite and Labour is National Lite.

    Key golfing with Celebrity Obama at luxury Hawaii resort! Adern wedding at Billionaire hide away serenaded by music star Lorde.

    Totally adorbs!


    December 29, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    • genXer … so you see something wrong with the PM of NZL playing golf with the President of the United States in Hawaii near to where both have/had holiday homes. I would have thought Key having a close personal relationship with POTUS was to NZL’s advantage. Key and Ardern … chalk and cheese starting with the fact that Key donated the majority of his PM’s salary to charity Key got things done …. Ardern … not so much.

      The Veteran

      December 30, 2021 at 3:53 pm

  5. Will it stop at one Crat for one minion, perhaps the end game is what was attempted for the Cook Islands where nearly every family had a Government employee, all paid for with NZ aid, provided by a minority of actual net taxpayers and delivered by a socialist Government wearing either a blue tie or a red one, not much difference.


    December 30, 2021 at 8:48 am

  6. Early in the third form I saw evidence of utopia and first thought was great then wondered who would foot the bill? by the sixth form and discovering Animal Farm (thanks Wally Stark) then had my interest aroused and moved to 1984 and my aversion to socialism was well embedded, has only strengthened ever since.
    Baroness Maggie adequately summed it up with “Socialism will only last so long as there are other people to fund it “


    December 30, 2021 at 8:54 am

  7. Fair bit of puffery here by some of you. What the graph shows is that under National the numbers of public servants essentially remained static while under Labour they explode. Now go to ACT’s 2021 alternative budget and you will see no mention/commitment to shrinking pubic service numbers. So if you want to indulge in name calling you would have to say ACT is Labour lite too. Look, the reality is that you can shrink bureaucracy around the edges but Tom’s 36,000 is pie in the sky stuff and won’t happen even if there were to be an ACT/National government (as opposed to the other way round) which ain’t gonna happen either.

    The Veteran

    December 30, 2021 at 9:25 am

    • I haven’t read ACT’s alternative budget but then I can’t recall the last time I took any notice of any such political party announcements. I watch what they do, and did last time they were in power.

      .. but Tom’s 36,000 is pie in the sky stuff and won’t happen…

      Well I’m pleased to see that you’re not denying this, Vet, in National’s pursuit of those precious “centrist” voters.

      So we’ve given up any idea of rollback, eh? Perhaps someone would like to explain why my 36,000 civil servants is pie-in-the-sky stuff, since it’s based on a population ratio that was acceptable to the Bolger/Shipley government of the late 1990’s.

      Tom Hunter

      December 30, 2021 at 9:44 am

  8. Yep Tom … those precious ‘centrist’ votes because without them there will be no National/ACT government.

    The Veteran

    December 30, 2021 at 3:55 pm

  9. Obviously. But the question is whether those centrist votes are turned off by a National policy of reducing the numbers of civil servants back to the proportions of the year 2000? Are they turned off? So much so that National is too frightened to even argue the case for such a reduction?

    Because if that’s the case then there’s no point in having a National/ACT government. We’ll just die more slowly.

    Tom Hunter

    December 30, 2021 at 4:09 pm

  10. Tom … there are better battles to fight … 3 Waters; the Health Reforms (in the middle of a pandemic); declining education standards; inflation; He Puapua; taxation … those are issues voters can relate to. Cutting the core public service back to 36,000 is dog whistle politics stuff which ain’t gonna happen except around the edges and, as I noted, not even ACT is proposing such a move.

    The Veteran

    December 30, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    • Vet, if you and National are not prepared to even make the argument against the most basic aspect of an ever growing state, being the number of civil servants employed, then you are going to lose on 3 Waters, the Health Reforms, education and He Puapua, for Labour’s changes to them – all involving greater and more centralised state power – will all be locked in place when next you come to government, defended and supported by that state and those vast numbers of civil servants, whom those things will empower further.

      And when it comes to spending and taxation, you will also have no room to move, something that Luxon has already conceded. There will be no tax cuts in the near future, if anything I would not be surprised to see National increases taxation, for what other choice will they have except more debt.

      Tom Hunter

      December 30, 2021 at 5:12 pm

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