Friday, March 16, 2012

Super Ministry a red herring

The Super Ministry announced by John Key is not any sort of magic bullet.  Not by a long shot.

This table I produced the other day shows core Crown expenditure is not a major issue.  The real issue is welfare spending along with unreal increases in Health and also  in Heritage and Culture spending until 2016.  Core government services actually decrease over this period.  Ipso facto, government ministries are not a "real" issue.

The biggest monkey in welfare is WFF, but this remains unchanged.  The other large cost - financing - includes things such as interest free student loans, and increases from $2billion to 4billion in nine years, but if you tried to solve that you'd be in opposition.  So you do very little about it.

All in all, as Steven Joyce said the other day, you can make some changes on the margins.

But that's just National being like Labour, but doing it slightly better.


Judge Holden said...

You're kind of right (for once) with respect to the Super Ministry, but your obsession with the tiny amounts spent on culture and heritage, mostly as a consequence of McCully being incompetent and the RWC, is just odd.

Of course WFF is targeted tax relief for families, so you're actually arguing for a tax hike. Unusual for a right wing nut bar, but no one could ever accuse you guys of consistency.

The "monkey" is actually the stupendous sums doled out to wealthy old people because they vote, and all politicians are too venal and craven to address that. Increasing the age of entitlement for national super, getting rid of the gold card and looking hard at the health spend would be a good start.

Nick K said...

Judge, yes, I agree with that last paragraph of yours. There is hope.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Not a red herring, I think.

Anything that slices a few hundred jobs off at the centre must be more like an attractive plate of fresh sashimi.

Judge Holden said...

Poor Adolt can't do maths. Lucky he doesn't work in financial services. Oh wait...

He should stick to telling "jokes" about dead little girls.

The Veteran said...

Judge ... my experience with MFAT is that it was the ultimate 'Old Boys Club' where longevity took precedence over competence. McCully and Allen are committed to challenging and changing that and I for one applaud their action.

As for the reducing cap on Public Servants and while Nick will argue for slash and burn I support a more measured approach designed to wind back and reduce further the proliferation in core Public Service numbers that occurred with your mob holding the purse strings.
There are savings to be made in the amalgamation of back office functions but Labour as ever is committed to the mantra of 'never mind the quality, feel the width'.

In respect of the the Student Loan regime and quite simply any attempt to act unilaterally without bi-partisan support is doomed to failure as Labour would reverse the change. Where I think there is a real opportunity to make significant change is for Key to swallow a dead rat and extend the age of entitlement to NZ Super.
With both National and Labour on board that can be cemented in place and sure, Winston First will make a meal of it but so what.

Psycho Milt said...

Of course, to National supporters it looks like a "proliferation in core public service numbers" while Labour's in power, and to Labour supporters it looks like recovery from the decimation of the public service under National. I expect we'll see a similar decimation/recovery process under this govt and the next one.

Nick's right - it's the big-ticket voter bribery items (WFF, interest-free student loans and universal superannuation) that are the millstone round the govt's neck. Messing about with the core public service isn't going to alter that.

Judge Holden said...


"my experience with MFAT is that it was the ultimate 'Old Boys Club' where longevity took precedence over competence."

I bet you can't name one non-political hack ambassador about whom that would be accurate. McCully won't stop the political hacks getting appointed, and will in fact this more prevalent.

John Allen is just a puppet who's fundamentally out of his depth. He'll quietly declare his job done shortly, get replaced and McCully's restructure will get slowly unwound as people realise what an unworkable disaster it is. Hopefully not too much damage will occur to our international interests in the meantime.

Psycho Milt said...

...McCully's xxxxxx will get slowly unwound as people realise what an unworkable disaster it is.

So useful I turned it into a generic description of any work carried out by McCully.

Judge Holden said...

The wee guy couldn't even handle the pissant tourism portfolio competently. Shipley had to fire him. Little wonder Key wants him out of the country as much as humanly possible.