No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Bureaucracy.

More Insanity for your delight

Well you may not be delighted at the first item, especially if you have kids looking for a house in New Zealand.

I’ve removed the name of the real estate company as I see no reason to give them free advertising after they dropped this through our mailbox the other day.

A 71% increase above the CV. Obviously the house and other structures on the site are worth nothing.

This is not a flash area, even by the moderate standards of Glenn Innes in Auckland, yet this is what’s happening even there. They’re also quite open about land banking and development, as if things like the “brightline test” and no longer being able to deduct expenses as a renter just don’t amount to a speed bump.

That’s because these are companies with teams of lawyers and accountants, and there is no limit to how “money” can be shuffled around to avoid the prescriptive revenge of Leftist governments.

Friends of ours, a Russian immigrant family we met twenty years ago when they landed in NZ at the same time we did, lived in this very street until last year and after years of scrimping and penny pinching, did well enough out of this insanity to be able to buy a section not far away and build a new house. Given the racism from their neighbours that they had to put up with for years they were glad to go.

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The second item is something we all try to avoid, getting tangled up in government bureaucracy – and death.

Many years ago I laughed at one of the crazy stories from the book Catch 22. One of the characters, Doc Daneeka, is gaming extra income by getting flight pay via signing up to fly on standard shakedown flights of bombers that have been repaired. A quick flight around the base and it’s all good, but Daneeka doesn’t even want to do that and the pilots let it slide. Then one of these bomber flights – with his name on the roster – crashes into a nearby mountain in full view of the base. “Poor Doc Daneeka” says one man, even as the Doc, standing beside him, is saying, “but I’m right here”. He ends up living in a ripped up tent on the edge of the base, stealing food wherever he can. Even the amoral capitalist genius of Milo Minderbinder and the evil bureaucratic genius of PFC Wintergreen, cannot resurrect him. It gets to the point that people ignore him when he speaks to them. He also just vanishes from the story eventually, his true fate unknown.

Meet the modern French version of the Doc, Jeanne Pouchain, and marvel at real-life insanity.

‘They said I don’t exist. But I am here’ – one woman’s battle to prove she isn’t dead.

The letter informed her that a lawyer in a court case relating to her cleaning business had told the court that she had died, aged 53, in February 2016. Somehow, this unverified claim – there was no official death certificate, how could there be? – was allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged.

The thing that really gets me is that a relatively minor court could let this happen, but somehow higher courts and supposed authorities can’t seem to reverse the process:

Several courts, including the Cour de Cassation, the highest in the French judicial system, have examined the case and conceded there appeared to be “irregularities”, but deemed it was beyond their competence to bring Pouchain back from the dead. So who can? Pouchain’s local MP’s office tells me they have taken up her case. The MP, Valéria Faure-Muntian, told Pouchain she has spoken to the justice minister, Éric Dupond-Moretti, who is a member of the French bar and will keep a close eye on the case.

Aside from frozen bank accounts and not being able to access the French healthcare system, there’s also ordinary things like not having a passport and a driver’s licence, which crimp your lifestyle to say they least, although when I read this bit …

Then [the gendarme] looked on the central database and he said, ‘I wouldn’t drive if I were you, because you don’t exist. You don’t have a licence.’”

Ok. So what happens if they arrest her for that? Or for anything really? How can you charge a dead person with a crime, convict them and send them to jail? Perhaps she should have tried getting the system to fight itself to a resolution.

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The last concerns the hopeless story creation in Hollywood in the last twenty years, with a seemingly endless line of re-boots, sequels and super-hero movies being made – and starting to sag in box-office returns.

Somebody on social media decided to spark some ideas using merely the photos of two actresses.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Making progress with Progressivism

It’s a bog-standard feature of every Labour government that the state will expand, not just in terms of money spent, but people employed.

So I’m not surprised to see this information from a recent post by Don Brash, Do We Need So Many Bureaucrats?:

  • Land Information New Zealand, 25.5%
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 30.7%
  • Ministry of Education, 32.4% (not teachers)
  • Ministry of Defence, 35.3%
  • Ministry of Primary Industries, 36.7%
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 38.9%
  • Oranga Tamariki, 40.7%
  • Ministry of Transport, 40.8% (not including NZTA)
  • Ministry for the Environment, 41.0%
  • Public Service Commission, 42.6%
  • Ministry for Women, 45.8%
  • Ministry for Maori Development, 69.8%
  • Ministry for Pacific Peoples, 81.1%

As Brash points out, this would not be so bad if there was evidence that the government was getting stuff done with all these extra people. But as is increasingly obvious to anybody who ignores the NZ MSM, it’s not.

A person at the polar opposite end of the political spectrum from Brash, Danyl Mclauchlan, has noticed the same thing:

Which raises an awkward question. If policy is developed by ministerial staff and implemented by DPMC, what do all of Robertson’s ministerial colleagues and their thousands of highly paid advisers do all day? Because the description of the Implementation Unit sounds an awful lot like the current role of a ministerial office.

Given Adern’s lightweight nature, it’s not surprising as to where this idea came from:

The Implementation Unit is a Blairite idea, as the Stuff journalists point out. He called it “the Delivery Unit”, inventing it in his final years in Downing Street to try and overcome what he perceived as the failure of both the civil service and his junior ministers in achieving his policy ambitions. Blair’s critics disagreed, arguing that Blair’s tendency to grandstand in the media by announcing visionary, aspirational goals without figuring out how to deliver them was the deeper problem with his administration.

Helpfully the Stuff article reminds us that Jacinda Ardern once worked for Tony Blair.

Chuckle. Danyl also takes a shot at other Lefties who have been banging the drums for a 21st century Ministry of Works, by quoting a senior government advisor that he knows:

“It’s the same mistake National made with MBIE. Let’s build a new entity to do the economic transformation the rest of the government can’t deliver. And how’d that work out? Imagine you’re a Labour minister and you decide to fund a Ministry of Works to deliver all these projects that NZTA and HUD and Kāinga Ora seem unable to do. You’re going to spend two years and, I dunno, a couple hundred million setting it up. You’re going to end up staffing it with people from NZTA and Kāinga Ora, because who else are you going to get? But once it’s built you’ve just replicated these same dysfunctional organisations. So it’s not going to build anything and your political career will be over.”

You could also add the ACT Party’s dopey idea to establish a Productivity Commission. How’d that work out?

That and the MBIE, plus all this other stuff, really go to the heart of the problem, which is not just the mindless acquisition of new bureaucrats by Labour but the fact that National and ACT refuse to shut down a lot of these useless government departments and worse, create new ones themselves. It’s Public Choice theory on steroids.

Speaking of which, let’s recall this blog’s namesake, as well as one of the key writers who seemed to well understand that theory as he wrote delicious lines like this for a show that seems ageless:

Perhaps it’ll all be okay. As I have said before, having a government that’s useless beats one that’s actually doing stupid shit. I just wish they could do all this nothing for much less money.

Besides, the new National-led coalition government of 2026 will freeze those numbers at that year’s level and hold them there until they lose power 2-3 terms later.

The idea of abolishing a bunch of these ministries, starting with the last three on that list, will be rejected as “too extreme and divisive” – plus Woman, Maori and Pasifika political activists and “journalists” who will never vote National, will tell National that they’d be awful people if they did such things.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 1, 2021 at 12:00 pm

YOU GOTTA LARF

The BBC has reported here that police in Plymouth attending a 999 call-out to a pub were issued a ticket by a parking company … no matter that it happened between 23.55 and 00.29 and no matter that police vehicles on emergency call-outs are exempt from parking charges.  

The charge was eighty five pounds reduced to fifty pounds if paid within 14 days.

When the Devon Police contacted the parking company to contest the charge they were told they would need to go through the formal appeal process if they wanted the charge waived.

The Police response was to tell the parking company that they would happily fill out the required paperwork but would they, in the interim, please not call 999 … cops with a sense of humor … but I’m sure some numpty will take offence.

Written by The Veteran

December 31, 2019 at 1:36 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,

Accountability and other Laughter

As the MSM slowly dies – because of an increasing lack of trust, shallow, ignorant, ideologically-biased reporting and pathetic attention-getting behaviour – and as Social Media reveals similar problems, I’m hoping that the blogosphere may make a comeback to where it was in the 2000’s.

As such, one of the things I want to do here at NoMinister is to support other blogs by linking to them explicitly and making sure that arguments and opinions I support get wider coverage.

To that end I think it’s well worth your time to read this review of the recent Budget security cockup, written by former Reserve Bank economist, Michael Reddell: On Makhlouf and standards in public office.

Reddell details, from the persepective of a former insider at the Reserve Bank, just what went wrong in general and specifically with Makhlouf himself:

Makhlouf and his senior IT staff (and their bosses) must have known very well by this point what had actually happened  (and if Makhlouf personally did not sufficiently understand the point, that too reflects poorly on him, for not having asked hard enough questions, or ensured he was on totally solid ground). 

Nobody expects a senior person to know minor details, but they are expected to ask enough questions to fully understand what’s going on, especially before opening their mouths in public.

… they attempted to get ahead of the story again.  This was the 5:05am statement. But it wasn’t just another Makhlouf statement, as he managed to get the State Services Commissioner to issue a parallel statement.  One can only wonder how much consultation with ministers (Finance, State Services) or their offices went on through this period –  but it is hard to believe that Peter Hughes would have put out such a statement, getting in the middle of a political controversy, with little or no notice, little or no consultation.

And now the same applies to Peter Hughes. Did he just take Makhlouf’s word for what was an IT technical matter that Hughes surely must have known was not Makhlouf’s area of expertise? I’m reminded of the discussions in the Central Committee, as portrayed in the recent TV series, Chernobyl..

But even then is keen to muddy the waters. Embargoes are irrelevant here –  they only apply to people who accept information under embargo, on terms and conditions set by the person releasing it.  There was no embargo here, simply insecure Treasury systems.  And then there was the final sentence, again playing distraction. 

There is no “longstanding convention around Budget confidentiality”. There are obligations on public servants to keep “Budget secret” information secret, an obligation that applies especially to the Treasury Secretary, responsible for Treasury systems, and there are rules in the Budget lockup. But none of that applies to anyone else.  A journalist who receives a leak about Budget material isn’t breaking the rules or any conventions in breaking the story – in fact, they’d be failing in their job if they chose not to run a newsworthy story.

Reddell captures the heart of the matter:

It was an extraordinary couple of days, and an extraordinary display of poor judgement by one of our most senior public servants. He’d made a series of very bad calls, all his own personal responsibility, and in the full glare of the public spotlight.
….
A decent and honourable person might have taken a day and then announced his resignation. After all, human beings make mistakes, and when they are serious enough, and public enough, sustained enough, and committed by someone very senior (in whom the system reposes considerable trust), bad choices need to have consequences.

And given that Makhlouf was leaving anyway, to head the central bank of Ireland I understand, how badly would it have hurt him to do that?

But no. That’s not how things work.

The State Services Commission has announced an inquiry, but based on history, Reddell accurately sums up where this will go – which is the same place that things like the whole Murray McCully-Saudi sheep affair went:

The State Services Commissioner is fully part of that same self-protecting establishment –  appointed by them, from among them, and now supposedly reporting independently on actions (of another member) that he himself was part of as recently as last Thursday morning.

 The MSM is not the only institution in which trust is being lost.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 6, 2019 at 9:48 pm

BUREAUCRACY IN ACTION

The Ministry of Social Development have just announced the new benefit rates to apply from 1 April 2018 …. you can access the information here.

Included  in the schedule is this little doozy under NZ Superannuation and Veteran’s Pensions …

World War 1 veteran’s lump sum payment on death … $15,040.46.

Just how much effort did it take by some peon(s) to work out this inflation adjusted sum since, to the best of my knowledge, the last NZ veteran of that conflict, Bright Williams, died fifteen years ago … and MSD would have known that.

Bureaucracy is a wonderful thing.
 

Written by The Veteran

March 19, 2018 at 11:49 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,