Treasury seeks cost-cutting suggestions


Treasury’s Cross Agency Programme Management Office is asking for good ideas from the private sector to cut government’s costs and lift the public service’s effectiveness.

The government department is “testing the market for innovative ideas” in a bid to make cash savings and improve the public sector’s efficiency by improving collaboration across different agencies, according to a tender document. The registration of interest (ROI) is seeking ideas to “improve the way government works” without asking for anything in specific.

“Submissions should indicate the agencies that would most benefit from adoption of the idea or would be natural leads to management implementation,” the document said. “The primary purpose of this ROI is to seek general information that will assist the Treasury in identifying ideas with potential for government to improve efficiency and effectiveness through cross-agency or all-of-government initiatives.”

A good place to start is by asking if we need each agency. It’s possible the answer would be no and that the best some agencies could do to save money and lift effectiveness would be to disappear altogether.

If the answer is yes, then the next question should be: could they perform at least as well and for a lower cost if they merged with other similar entities?

Some may well be better as they are but there could be benefits in mergers for others.

It’s early days yet but if the new Ministry of Primary Industries, formed from the merger of  three separate ministries lives up to expectations it could be a model for other mergers.

Turangi suspect to plead guilty


Radio NZ reports that the 16 year old accused of attacking a five year old in a Turangi camping ground intends to plead guilty.

That saves the family from having to endure a defended trial.

Thursday’s quiz


1. What is paregmenon?

2.  Who said: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is let it rain“?

3. What is a whio?

4. It’s pluie in French, pioggia in Italian, lluvia in Spanish and ua in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Who was New Zealand’s first Jewish premier?

Scans then and now


When I was pregnant scans in Oamaru were overseen by the hospital’s general surgeon who wouldn’t permit anyone to accompany the expectant mother during the process.

If you wanted anyone to be with you during a scan you had to go to Dunedin. Even there, policy discouraged anyone other than the baby’s father from accompanying the mother.

That was more than 20 years ago and attitudes have changed for the better since then.  Women are encouraged to bring others with them to scans and technology enables them to show others the result.

When a niece had a scan earlier this week her husband and parents were with her. She then posted a video clip on Facebook which enabled family and friends to share the excitement of seeing not one but two babies.

It never rains . . .


Millers Flat expects to be dry at this time of year but a good shower is always welcome.

It got one last night – about 24 mmms (an inch) which would have been even better had it not all fallen in 15 minutes.

Further south a friend had counted about 60 spots at Otahuti but there was better news from further west. Another friend was driving near Tapanui and the rain was so heavy he had to slow to around 50 kph.

Why no peep from Labour?


If the dispute between Ports of Auckland and MUNZ had happened last century the government would almost certainly have got involved.

That it is maintianing a hands-off approach is a sign of improved industrial relations legislation which leaves negotiations on pay and conditions to the parties involved.

Opposition parties don’t have to keep their distance in the same way and given they’re usually desperate for a headline you’d think someone from Labour might have something to say on the matter.

So far, if there’s been a peep from any of its MPs it hasn’t been a well-publicised one.


Does none of them have a view?

Or is this another sign of the problem the party faces when unions not only donate significant amounts of money to it but also have more influence over policy and candidate selection than individual members?

January 12 in history


475  Basiliscus becomes Byzantine Emperor, with a coronation ceremony in the Hebdomon palace in Constantinople.

1528 – Gustav I of Sweden crowned king.

1539 – Treaty of Toledo signed by King Francis I of France and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

1729 Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, was born (d. 1797).

1777 Mission Santa Clara de Asís was founded in what is now Santa Clara, California.

1808 The meeting that led to the creation of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society,was held in Edinburgh.,

1848  The Palermo rising  in Sicily against the Bourbon kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

1863, Swami Vivekananda, Indian philosopher, was born  (d. 1902).

1866  The Royal Aeronautical Society was formed in London.

1872  Yohannes IV was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in Axum, the first imperial coronation in that city in over 200 years.

1876 Jack London, American author, was born.

1893 Hermann Göring, German Nazi official, was born.

1895 The National Trust was founded in the United Kingdom.

1906 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman‘s cabinet (which included amongst its members H. H. Asquith, David Lloyd George, and Winston Churchill) embarked on sweeping social reforms after a Liberal landslide in the British general election.

1908 A long-distance radio message was sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

1911 The University of the Philippines College of Law was formally established; three future Philippine presidents were among the first enrollees.

1915 The Rocky Mountain National Park was formed by an act of U.S. Congress.

1915  The United States House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote.

1916 Pieter Willem Botha, South African politician, was born  (d. 2006).

1917  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian spiritualist, was born (d. 2008).

1918 Finland’s “Mosaic Confessors” law went into effect, making Finnish Jews full citizens.

1932 Hattie W. Caraway became the first woman elected to the United States Senate

1932 Des O’Connor, British television presenter, was born.

1941  Long John Baldry, British blues singer, was born (d. 2005).

1945  Maggie Bell, Scottish singer (Stone the Crows), was born.

1946  Cynthia Robinson, American musician (Sly & the Family Stone), was born.

1951 Kirstie Alley, American actress, was born.

1952  John Walker, New Zealand middle distance runner, was born.

1954 Queen Eilzabeth II opened a special session of the New Zealand Parliament in its centennial year. It was the first time New Zealand’s Parliament had been opened by a reigning monarch

QEII opens NZ Parliament

1964 Rebels in Zanzibar began the Zanzibar Revolution and proclaimed a republic.

1967  Dr. James Bedford became the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.

1968 Heather Mills, British activist and model, was born

1970  Biafra capitulated, ending the Nigerian civil war.

1974 Melanie Chisholm, British singer (Spice Girls), was born.

1976 The UN Security Council voted 11-1 to allow the Palestine Liberation Organisation to participate in a Security Council debate (without voting rights).

1991 Gulf War: An act of the U.S. Congress authorised the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

1992 A new constitution, providing for freedom to form political parties, was approved by a referendum in Mali.

1998 Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning.

2004 The world’s largest ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary 2, made its maiden voyage.

2005 Deep Impact launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta 2 rocket.

2006 The foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany declared that negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have reached a dead end and recommend that Iran be referred to the United Nations Security Council.

2006  A stampede during the Stoning the Devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, killed at least 362 Muslim pilgrims.

2007  Comet McNaught reached perihelion becoming the brightest comet in more than 40 years.

2010 – The 2010 Haiti earthquake  killed at least 230,000 and destroyed the majority of the capital Port-au-Prince.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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