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  • rmacculloch

The PM makes it up again, this time on Comms staff

The PM has been defending the rise in Comms staff in the public service, which amounts to a 57 percent increase since Labour took office.

"This isn't about spin doctoring, it's not about working with the media," Hipkins said. He said the number of staff working with the media had stayed "pretty much the same" since Labour came to power - the growth had come in "roles directly engaging with the public".

"Citizens, members of the public, make much greater use of social media and online forums to interact with the public service. They want to know someone's on the other end, answering those questions that they're posing."

Well, let's do a Case Study of the Reserve Bank of NZ. The Wellington Blog, "Croaking Cassandra", reported that Comms staff have doubled there since Labour took office:

To the best of my knowledge, none of them is remotely engaged in spending their day "answering questions" that "members of the public" are posing "via social media and online forums" to interact with the Bank. That idea is ridiculous. The Bank has practically no dealings with private citizens whatsoever.

During my two years working there, not a single member of the public ever called. The odd person did write to the Bank, usually with a "funny money" proposal to solve our country's problems. Replies were drafted usually by a junior member of the economics staff.

From what I hear from insiders at the Bank, its Comms team are spin doctoring. So maybe the PM should refrain from giving a misleading view about what such staff are up to at our most important state institutions.



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