Measuring failure

Some things in life are very easy to quantify or measure exactly. The speed you are driving, your age, your weight, the number of bedrooms in your house, the amount of money in your bank balance or pay packet.

Some things are not so easily quantified. The exact shade of a twilight sky, the fairness of a proposal, the openness of a government, the wellbeing of the population or the prudence of spending.

So when our beloved comrade leader announced a plan full of unquantifiable goals six months ago, it should have dawned on her and her ministers that reporting on the progress of these goals was likely to be problematic.

Every politician paints their promises with such broad brush strokes, full of comparative descriptors rather than definite numbers, as that prevents people from calling them out when they fail.

By giving checkable numbers, like 1,000 KiwiBuild houses in the first year, and simultaneously promising to measure the immeasurable, like “developing broader measures, over and above just GDP, to better reflect New Zealanders? lives”, they set themselves up to fail.

And that they have delivered on. Quote.

Ardern promised to report back to the public regularly on how they were progressing, with the first update due this month.

But a spokesman for Ardern has told the Herald that the first update had been delayed because at the time the work was begun on delivering the 12 priorities, it was realised there was a range of things that weren’t measured. end quote

A Newspaper

The Government’s themes

Build a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy

  • Grow and share more fairly New Zealand’s prosperity.
  • Deliver responsible governance with a broader measure of success.
  • Support thriving and sustainable regions.
  • Transition to a clean, green and carbon-neutral New Zealand.

Improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families

  • Ensure everyone is earning, learning, caring or volunteering.
  • Support healthier, safer, and more connected communities.
  • Ensure everyone has a warm, dry home.
  • Make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

Provide new leadership by government

  • Deliver transparent, transformative and compassionate government.
  • Build closer partnerships with M?ori.
  • Value who we are as a country.
  • Create an international reputation we can be proud of.

These are all admirable electioneering slogans but how can most of these be measured or quantified? Transformative? Compassionate? Transparent?

How is ‘share more fairly’ decided. I am sure those who ‘get’ will think things are more fair whereas those from whom it is taken will think it less fair. Who judges if we have ‘shared more fairly’?

What is a ‘broader measure of success’ in terms of responsible governance? (Answers on a postcard please.)

How is a thriving, sustainable region defined? The detail on the Beehive site says: Quote.

We are supporting regions to flourish by creating new opportunities for regional economies through:

  • The Provincial Growth Fund?s $3b investment in new jobs and opportunities .
  • The One Billion Trees programme to create jobs and environmental benefits .
  • Investing in tourism industries and infrastructure through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy .
  • Boosting the value of primary sector exports.
    Beehive End quote.

Something measurable here, but is 54 jobs and 118 bureaucrats a success?

The billion trees quickly became half a billion from government and half a billion that were going to be planted by private enterprise anyway and then a few million got mulched.

How does having your coalition partner constantly blagging the farmers assist in boosting the value of primary sector exports?

The Beehive site expands on “Ensure everyone has a warm, dry home.” Quote.

Every New Zealander should have a safe, warm, dry home to call their own ? even if they?re renting. Our priorities are:

  • Building 6,400 more public houses
  • Building 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers through KiwiBuild
  • Removing letting fees and strengthening the rights of renters
  • Ensuring landlords provide adequate insulation, heating and ventilation through the Healthy Homes Guarantee
  • Ending homelessness by boosting Housing First and other programmes.
    Beehive End quote.

6,400 more pubs, really? How many so far?

KiwiBuild has quantifiable numbers and targets but they need recalibration.

All the fiddling with rentals has simply convinced landlords to sell or to put up the rent so that the tenant pays extra every week forever instead of the one-off letting fee. Every move the Coalition of Losers have made in this space has been an own goal.

There is much more that could be said, but you get the picture. At least the 6,400 extra pubs will be useful for drowning our sorrows …

Sound bites, platitudes and bumper sticker slogans are not deliverable policies. Promises without backing are empty words like writing a cheque on an overdrawn account. Ardern’s cheques appear to be bouncing.

Do we have an opposition that can or will hold them to account?