Public sector arrogance

Tony Alexander’s Weekly Overview is particularly good this week. One of the topics he discusses in detail is the arrogance to be found in the top echelons of the public sector.

There once was a time when we knew that we could trust our public service, and those who had made it to the top had done so by hard work and a high level of competence. We simply cannot say that anymore, and it is worrying. The lack of competence in itself is bad enough, but the arrogance that goes with it is quite unacceptable.

Is public sector arrogance the reason for these things?

? The Reserve Bank can’t do cost-benefit analysis.

? Statistics NZ can’t run a census.

? Treasury can’t run a website and at the top lacks integrity and willingness to accept responsibility. No returns Ireland.

? Customs can’t stop wanted criminals leaving the country.

? Police can’t keep seized guns secure.

? MPI can’t stop some diseases entering the country. Good luck with African Swine Flu.

? The Civil Aviation Authority can’t inspect aircraft properly.

? Those running KiwiBuild’s programme to build affordable houses can’t build affordable houses.

? The Speaker of the House can’t follow professional due process.

? Those running the Provincial Growth Fund can’t provide analysis backing their handing out of slush fund money to favoured groups in politically favoured locations.

That’s quite a list, and all recent events too. Clearly, some are out-and-out incompetence, but some are undoubtedly the result of arrogance. Trevor Mallard is a disgraceful Speaker, and should be removed forthwith. The Treasury website debacle had ‘arrogance’ written all over it, both from senior politicians and the Treasury secretary himself. They should all be ashamed of themselves, but the disdainful attitude towards the opposition starts right at the top, with Jacinda, Winston and Grant themselves.

Bovver boys seem to have taken over, arrogant, entitled, and accusing those who oppose their views of being political representatives. And in none of these agencies have the top people resigned in order to let someone with competence take over. Something has gone wrong in the public sector and with senior politicians this past decade.

I’m not sure it goes back a decade. Sure, the last government became guilty of third term arrogance, but at least they were competent. The trouble with this government is that they are already suffering from third term arrogance, but have only been in power for a year and a half… and they wouldn’t know what ‘competence’ was if it hit them with a 10 foot pole.

Sure, there are examples of arrogance in the private sector too, as Tony Alexander points out, but those in the private sector are not stewards of our economy or our infrastructure. They are held to account if something goes wrong in a way we should be seeing in the public sector. Last week, there were calls for John Key to be fired as chairman of the ANZ Bank over its censure by the Reserve Bank. But similar calls for Trevor Mallard and Gabriel Mahklouf to be stood down are simply swatted away by Jacinda, who doesn’t seem to care how bad they are making her government look. She is not strong enough to stare down these people, so an era of arrogance and gross incompetence is set to continue.

Now, this is New Zealand and a key thing to remember about being a Kiwi is that you can never look like you are up yourself. Always remember that if you are going to sound high and mighty talking down other people you had best do the same to yourself else others will do it for you.

Weekly Overview.

This used to be true of Kiwis, but not any more. When the government and public sector are full of arrogant individuals who can well be described as ‘up themselves’, then the rot sets in from the top. This government is full of people who are ‘up themselves’. It is just a shame that they have nothing to be so proud, or arrogant, about.