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  • rmacculloch

Ashley Bloomfield's no-evidence-of-left-or-right-in-our-civil-service doesn't apply to economics

Former Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, said today, regards Rob Campbell's partisan comments about the National Party's position on "Three Waters", that:

"I spent much of the last 25 years in NZ’s excellent public service & saw no evidence of either left or right ‘leaning’. I have no idea how any of my former Crown Entity colleagues voted, we just didn’t talk about it. Rob Campbell’s comments are a big story because it’s a very rare event".

Gosh, he can't be referring to that part of the public service engaged in implementing economic policies. It's hard to know where to start regards the politically charged appointments that Labour has influenced throughout our civil service these past years, including ones who have made overtly partisan comments even when in office. It's not big news in my circles since it's so common.

Let's start with the Chair of the Board of the Productivity Commission, economist Ganesh Nana, who works in similar fields to me. Here is the headline that Stuff ran in June of last year during an interview after Nana was appointed:

"Rogernomics? Not on the watch of Ganesh Nana, new head of the Productivity Commission". On Rogernomics, “we got sold a lemon”, Nana declared.

Is the Productivity Commission Chair's line about Sir Roger Douglas, Minister of Finance 1984-88, being a used-car-salesman-trickster who sold unsuspecting Kiwis a "lemon" (the name for a dud car) before starting the ACT Party with fellow lemon-seller Richard Prebble, "evidence" of his "leaning"? Well, at least one thing is sure, he ain't voting ACT.

Does the fact PM Hipkins also slammed Rogernomics in his maiden speech in Parliament make it ok for the Productivity Commission Chair to have violated political neutrality in this particular way? Is there one rule for Chairs of some Crown Entities and another for others?

The NZ Productivity Commission - Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa describes itself as an "independent Crown Entity". Independent my foot.



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