Let’s not politicise public sector

April 26, 2018

Shane Jones want to give ministers more power over ministries.

Cabinet Minister Shane Jones, says he would like to “soften that line” between governance and the bureaucracy, including allowing ministers to appoint top officials.

In an interview on the provincial growth fund Jones, the Regional Development Minister railed against a bureaucratic system he characterised as a “treacle-riddled”, slowing down process around funding economic projects, without evidence of improved efficiency.

“I’m looking forward to fighting an election to change the way that politicians relate to the bureaucracy,” Jones said.

“I know we have this separation of governance and the bureaucracy, but I’m really attracted to the idea where the Aussies have softened that line, and key ministers bring in their s…-kickers to get things done. That’s always been my preference.” . . . 

Among other things the State Sector Act gives the State Services Commissioner the power over chief executive appointments, without influence from the Beehive, at least in theory.

Unlike many other countries, public servants are required to act in a politically neutral way.

The Public Services Association warned in December that the influence of ministerial advisors, Beehive staff which are appointed to serve the interests of their minister, are undermining this neutrality.

Jones was quick to promote reports of his comments.

“Surely I’m not the only one who would like to see less bureaucracy in this country? Meeting high governance and probity standards should not come at the expense of efficiency and pace in my books,” Jones said on his public Facebook profile.

Is he suggesting we accept lower governance and probity standards?

The Taxpayer’s Union’s executive director Jordan Williams called the comments “bizarre”.

“Shane Jones is suggesting we abandon our Westminster-style independent public service and adopt a corrupt American-style political appointment model. It’s a recipe for unstable, crony, poor governance.” . . 

Anyone who has had the misfortune to attempt to move something at anything more than snails’ pace through a government department will understand Jones’ treacle analogy.

Many will have sympathy with his desire to speed processes up.

But let’s not politicise the bureaucracy.

That’s a prescription which would poison the public service and do nothing at all to improve management, governance or productivity.

 

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Quote of the day

April 26, 2018

The fact is that the learning process goes on, and so long as the voices are not stilled and the singers go on singing some of it gets through. –  Morris West who was born on this day in 1916.


April 26 in history

April 26, 2018

570 Muhammed, founder of Islam, was born according to the Shi’a sect. Other sources suggest April 20; (d. 632) .

1336 Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) ascended  Mont Ventoux.

1478 The Pazzi attacked Lorenzo de’ Medici and killed his brother Giuliano during High Mass in the Duomo of Florence.

1607  English colonists of the Jamestown settlement made landfall at Cape Henry, Virginia.

1802 Napoleon Bonaparte signed a general amnesty to allow all but about 1,000 of the most notorious émigrés of the French Revolution to return to France, as part of a reconciliary gesture with the factions of the Ancien Regime and to eventually consolidate his own rule.

1805 United States Marines captured Derne, Tripoli, under the command of First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon.

1856 Sir Joseph Ward, 17th Prime Minister of New Zealand  was born  (d. 1930), .

1865  American Civil War: Confederate General Joseph E. Johnstonsurrendered his army to General William Tecumseh Sherman at the Bennett Place near Durham, North Carolina.

1865 Union cavalry troopers cornered and shot dead John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Lincoln.

1879 Owen Willans Richardson, British physicist, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1959).

1888 Anita Loos, American writer was born, (d. 1981).

1889 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian-born philosopher, was born (d. 1951).

1894 Rudolf Hess, Nazi official was born (d. 1987).

1900 Charles Richter, American geophysicist was born (d. 1985).

1916 Morris West, Australian writer was born  (d. 1999).

1925  Paul von Hindenburg defeated Wilhelm Marx in the second round of the German presidential election to become the first directly elected head of state of the Weimar Republic.

1933 Carol Burnett, American comedian, was born.

1933 The Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, was established.

1937  Spanish Civil War: Guernica, was bombed by German Luftwaffe.

1943 The Union Steam Ship Company freighter Limerick was torpedoed in the Tasman.

NZ ship torpedoed in Tasman

1945 World War II: Battle of Bautzen – last successful German tank-offensive of the war and last noteworthy victory of the Wehrmacht.

1945 – Author John Mulgan died.

Death of John Mulgan

1946 Father Divine, a controversial religious leader who claimed to be God, married the much-younger Edna Rose Ritchings, a celebrated anniversary in the International Peace Mission movement.

1954 The Geneva Conference, an effort to restore peace in Indochina and Korea, began.

1956 First container ship left Port Newark,  for Houston.

1956 Koo Stark, American actress, was born.

1960 Roger Taylor, English musician (Duran Duran), was born.

1962 NASA’s Ranger 4 spacecraft crashed into the Moon.

1963 Amendments to the constitution transformed Libya into one national unity and allowed for female participation in elections.

1964 Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.

1965 A Rolling Stones concert in London, Ontario was shut down by police after 15 minutes due to rioting.

1966  An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 destroyed Tashkent.

1966  A new government was formed in the Republic of Congo, led byAmbroise Noumazalaye.

1970 The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force

1982 57 people were killed by former police officer Woo Bum-kon in a shooting spree in Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea.

1982 Jon Lee, British singer (S Club), was born.

1986 A nuclear reactor accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

1991 Seventy tornadoes broke out in the central United States.

1994 – A China Airlines Airbus A300-600R crashed at Nagoya Airport, Japan killing all but seven passengers, with a death toll amounting to 264. See also China Airlines flight 140.

1994  Physicists announced first evidence of the top quark subatomic particle.

2002 Robert Steinhäuser infiltrated and kills 17 at Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot.

2005 – Under international pressure, Syria withdrew the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country.

2005 Civil unions came into effect in New Zealand.
Civil unions come into effect
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


365 days of gratitude

April 25, 2018

At the first dawn service I attended, the service people marching were of my father’s generation and the ages of those whose deaths we remembered were many years my senior.

A few years later, those men and women who died in the wars were the same age as my contemporaries.

Now those who died could have been my children.

Today, I’m grateful for the sacrifices and service of those who died and those who survived and I’m very grateful that my contemporaries and those of my children haven’t had to face a world war.


Word of the day

April 25, 2018

Obarmate – to arm against.


Rural round-up

April 25, 2018

Water the new gold in Central Otago – Sally Rae:

Irrigation New Zealand held its conference in Alexandra last week. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae joined a media tour in Central Otago to see  the benefits of water.

It gives John Perriam such a buzz to see “rabbit s…  being turned into world-class pinot”.

But to do that on Bendigo Station, in the heart of Central Otago, it has taken technology, resources and water.

Bendigo —between Tarras and Cromwell — is a very different place to when the Perriam family first arrived in the late 1970s, having been literally flooded out of their previous property by  the Clyde Dam hydro development.

They took over 6000 superfine merino sheep from the previous owners, the Lucas family, and fine and superfine merinos remained a core part of the operation. . . 

Bonding time:

Determined to realise the potential offered by triplet-bearing ewes, Chris, Julia and Richard Dawkins have, with the help of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Innovation Farm programme, set-up an indoor lambing system on their Marlborough sheep and beef farm.

This is part one of a two-part series looking at the benefits and the economics of this system.An on-farm trial aimed at economically improving lamb survival by lambing triplet-bearing ewes indoors and rearing mis-mothered lambs has got off to an encouraging start.

The Marlborough-based Dawkins family is running the three-year trial on their sheep and beef property as part of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Innovation Farm programme. . . 

Gypsy Day start of new chapter – Toni Williams:

Trudy Bensted is planning the next chapter in her life, packing up her family and moving farms.

She is motivated to succeed in the dairy industry, but also driven to give her children life experiences.

Trudy has a sole charge position in Temuka milking 260 cows but on June 1 – the traditional Gypsy Day – she moves to a new job.

She will be taking on a new venture joining the team at Kintore farms in Mid Canterbury.

”Kintore consists of two sheds south of Ashburton, 1500 cows, excellent apps and systems in place for an efficient and effective farm,” Trudy said. . . 

Politicking put aside on livestock rustling:

Federated Farmers is greatly encouraged by the cross-party support for tougher livestock theft deterrents being shown by members of the Primary Production Select Committee.

Meat and Wool Chairman Miles Anderson spoke to the committee on the Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill this morning. He said it was heartening to see there was no politicking on the issue, just determination to work out the best ways of combating the problem.

“There’s good momentum to put in place effective measures to tackle this serious and growing scourge.” . . 

Digital core to future of New Zealand farming – Ballance:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ today announced changes to its lead team that reinforce digitisation as core to the Co-operative and the future competitiveness of New Zealand farming.

Chief Executive, Mark Wynne, says the creation of a new Chief Digital Officer role reflects a strategy to become a truly customer-centric organisation, with digital at the heart.

Ballance was the first New Zealand organisation to go live with SAP S/4HANA in 2016, providing a foundation for the launch this year of the MyBallance customer experience platform that puts customers in control – providing real-time data and the capability to place and track nutrient plans and orders online 24/7, and with digital mapping the ability to report accurately on nutrient application on their farms. . . 

Tech will have profound impact on NZ agriculture:

The New Zealand IoT (internet of things) Alliance believes cutting-edge technologies will have a profound impact on helping improve New Zealand’s agricultural productivity.

Alliance executive director Kriv Naicker says a major study into the potential benefits of IoT last year found that better use of IoT across agriculture could provide more than $570 million for the economy.

“In an earlier study by the Sapere research group found that if New Zealand firms made better use of the internet it could have a major impact on GDP, potentially lifting it by $34 billion,” Naicker says. . . 


Land Girls

April 25, 2018

Farming was a reserved occupation which exempted farmers from conscription during World War II.

Many country men enlisted anyway leaving a shortage of labour on farms which in those days had little mechanisation.

Young women were enlisted to fill jobs vacated by men in the services, some of them became Land Girls, one of those was Sadie Lietze (nee Stuart):

. . .  Lietze was interviewed and she chose the Womens Land Service. A week later tickets arrive in the post. She was being sent to Omarama to work at the high country station, Tara Hills.

“Omarama was a place I had never heard of, never been. I had to look in the map to know where Omarama was. It was quite an experience for me. I was just 19. I had never travelled much or been away from Dunedin.”

The 94-year-old recalls the trip to the high country station, where she would remain for two years, vividly:

“I left in the morning by the Mail Bus … My new boss met me in Omarama. As we travelled the three miles to Tara Hills Station in a jogger, a two wheeled cart pulled by a horse, similar to a trotting sulky. Little did I know I would stay two years as a cowman, a gardner, assistant rabbiter and horse breaker, a musterer, a wool classer and a general rouse about.

“I milked cows morning, night – every day of the year and never had a break. You would get Saturday afternoon off to do your washing. I just did everything that was asked. I did it. People say to me, ‘why did you do it?’ I say, “well, you did it because it was a war effort’.”

Growing up on a dairy farm, Lietze was using to milking cows. But the back-aching task of rabbiting was hard, she says.

Rabbits were real problem. Trapping rabbits was a fulltime job in winter. Rabbits were trapped, gutted and hung in twos on a fence at the road gate. These were picked up an hung on the rabbit truck and taken to Pukeuri Freezing Works near Oamaru to be later sent to England for food.

“After trapping we poisoned the rabbits. A furrow was scratched along the foothills, carrots were packed into saddle bags and I would walk along dropping sliced carrots into the furrows.

“Two days later I would do it again. I had to dig a huge hole big enough to bury a horse in.

“Then the next day I would drop carrots which had been laced with strychnine. The following day we would pick up hundreds of frozen rabbits, take them in the saddle bags to the big hole. Here we would skin them.

“It was a back-aching chore. In the evening we would stretch the skins on wires and hang them on a line to dry. When we had almost forgotten the pain we would start again on another block.”

The biggest hardships were the conditions and the cold, she says.

“There was no electricity. A Delco engine charged batteries for light and the wireless, which we listened to for the War News at nine o’clock. Then I would go to be and be up again at 6am. I just slept in an old hut. You take the sack off the floor and put it on you – it was freezing. Omarama is cold and you put the sack on top of your bedding to keep you warm. I wasn’t the only one.” . . . 

Some Land Girls had been brought up in the country and relished the opportunity to work on farms, often those of their families. But when the war was over and their fathers and brothers returned they weren’t given the choice of keeping their jobs.

Some women who farmed during the war were farmers’ wives who had no choice but to step into their husbands’ boots to keep the farms going.

It wasn’t easy work and it often wasn’t easy for either partner when the war was over.

One returned service man told me when he came home both he and his wife had changed and his children didn’t know who he was.

They called us the heroes, but it was the women who stayed behind who were the heroes.

My wife took over the farm and ran it while looking after the children and managed it all by herself.

She’d been doing it all for all those years then I came home, thinking I knew it all and took over.

These days, one of us would have walked out, but then you got on and made the best of it.

 


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