Dickens: Budget inquiry shows how out of touch parliamentarians are

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Nov 2019, 4:28PM
Andrew Dickens argues that money is being thrown at an issue no one cares about anymore. (Photo / File)

Dickens: Budget inquiry shows how out of touch parliamentarians are

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Nov 2019, 4:28PM

There are times when the way people who work in the Beehive think and operate completely confounds me. They're in some alternate universe.

The gnomes of parliament insist their processes are best practice and the professional way to do things without realising just how ridiculous it all seems to the rest of us.  And they never seem to care about how much money they burn along the way

So here’s the latest inanity.

Remember when details of the Budget appeared to be leaked to the National Party off a government website. Remember when Gabriel Makhlouf, the head of Treasury at the time, insisted the website had been hacked.

Well, the State Services Commission started an inquiry into just how Budget sensitive information was accessed from the Treasury website.  Today’s news is that that inquiry has been shut down because a key member failed to declare a conflict of interest, so now they have to start all over again.

Treasury say they’re very disappointed but they need to start again to maintain the investigation’s integrity. Well, to be honest, the integrity is a little damaged already because you never picked up the conflict of interest in the first place.

But that’s not what is astounding.  The investigation should still be finished by its deadline of February. The leaks happened in May.  How long can they drag this thing out? But that’s only part of what astounds me.

The investigation is expected to come in under its budget of $250,000. So 9 months and quarter of a million dollars to investigate the leaking of Budget details.

But do you remember what happened?

Let me run you through it and let me do the investigation right now for the State Services Commission.

National found the details on the Treasury website.  We know this because they admitted it! How did they find some facts and figures hidden on the Budget website? National released a video showing how they did it!

So we already know who did it and how. That’s half the investigation done.

All you need next is a recommendation.  My recommendation? That the software engineers find a better way of indexing cached documents than using the documents text.

So there we go. All done. In under a minute. That’ll be $250,000, thank you.

The Mandarins of Parliament believe their investigation of the budget leak is professional. I don’t - I think it’s a pedantic waste of money on an issue that no-one cares about anymore.