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  • rmacculloch

The PM is right: his government is an incompetent "cock-up", but it's not particularly corrupt

Several years ago, at an event organized by the founder of 42 Below Vodka, Geoff Ross, someone in the audience asked me why so many things the government was doing were going wrong. In all seriousness, my answer was that Wellington is not a particularly corrupt place, but it was becoming increasingly incompetent. The vast majority of Kiwi civil servant managers are remarkably honest, at least compared to many of their counterparts overseas.


However, due to hiring practices in the civil service & related entities these past years having little to do with making sure they get the best, most highly qualified, experienced person for the job, honest incompetency has been rising.


Amazingly, now even the PM agrees. Newshub report that the "The PM says the case of two staffers not flagging an email from Stuart Nash containing confidential Cabinet matters is more of a "cock-up" than a "conspiracy" .. "In the choice between a cock-up and a conspiracy, this one was absolutely in the cock-up end", Chris Hipkins said on Friday. "Someone made a mistake. I don't think there was any ill intent there." Hipkins defended the staff members in the PM's Office calling them "diligent and honest" while acknowledging they made a "mistake".


Let's not stop at the PM's Office. Our Reserve Bank is also staffed by "diligent & honest" people, but that hasn't stopped it becoming a "cock-up". Why? It's hard to find a single decent economist who works there anymore, but I'm sure they're all kind & decent people. The list of major government institutions I could name goes on & on.


So what does NZ want? Low inflation & increasing prosperity supported by monetary policy run by competent people, regardless of personality type, or high inflation & a recession "engineered" by incompetents, who evade responsibility by arguing they didn't mean it? The PM is supporting a shift in our culture to pouring scorn on competent people who are deemed not nice, yet forgiving of incompetent people who are labelled honest and diligent.


Well, cock-ups & incompetency may well be the undoing of this country, regardless of intent.

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