ZB

Kerre Woodham: Government ineptitude needs to change

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jun 2022, 12:48pm
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Kerre Woodham: Government ineptitude needs to change

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jun 2022, 12:48pm

I was looking forward to today, and then I read something.

A report from RNZ into Waka Kotahi, the agency charged with leading the Road to Zero road deaths action plan. The opening par of their story reads, and I quote "Four years after Waka Kotahi was slammed for not doing its job of keeping roads safe, a core unit of it has been labeled so ineffective it's being pulled apart.”

The unit's head in an internal report a month ago said “We have lost clarity of how we add value, why we are here, and what we exist for.'"

Utterly, utterly pointless.

How long have they been pointless? Clearly, about four years bare minimum.

For the love of all that is holy, if your boss was standing there telling you that your company, the company they ran, had lost clarity of how they added value, why they were there and what they existed for, it would be because the company had gone bankrupt.

You would shortly be told that you're out of a job because you were purposeless. Your whole raison d'être of getting up out of bed and going to work was meaningless. You didn't add anything. You were hopeless. And sure the unit's being dismantled, but the hapless and the bewildered that made up that particular unit will probably just be redeployed because #publicservice.

And as I read this this morning, I was reminded that while I was away, there was yet another damning report into the Ministry of Health. Another one. How many is that? I don't have enough fingers to count how many damning reports there have been and the Ministry of Health and all the many things that's supposed to be in charge of.

And it's not just the Ministry of Health. What about immigration? Remember how woeful immigration was back in 2019. They had stopped processing some visa applications because they simply couldn't cope.

They had a succession of hopeless ministers -  Lees Galloway then Faafoi - then along came Covid and hallelujah, that was the best thing ever for Immigration New Zealand because they could just stop.

Pick a government department, any government department.

All they've done to try and fix deep seated, really big issues within our Government departments is hire communication teams to again adapt the jazz hands approach and just not front, they just will not front and you kind of see why.

How do you explain it? How do you justify?

You can't, so you refuse interviews and you don't show. It's appalling. I don't know how you fix it.

I would love to know.

I mean, I imagine most of the public servants are in Wellington, but you know, there's been a lot of churn even in, for example, the immigration department.

Immigration New Zealand staff churn approaches one third of its workforce each and every year.

That's a lot of churn.

So if you have left because you are just horrified at the ineptitude and the fact that you've been given a policy which is unintelligible to anyone who doesn't speak bureaucratese.

How do you get joy out of your job?

When you're basically, as Waka Kotahi were told, you basically have no clarity of how you add value.

No understanding of why you were there and what you exist for?

You could put that across just about any government department and it needs to change.