The great tragedy, or sadness, for me out of the Nanaia Mahuta revelation is that we are being let down so badly by hopeless people.
Forget politics and your personal view of the world, surely what you want in the leadership of your country is enquiring minds, experience, and institutional knowledge. You want people, who even though you may not agree with, at least you can see what they are trying to do and why.
One of the great privileges of this job has been to meet everyone who has run this place for the past 40 years, basically from David Lange on.
Lange was brilliant. He was bright, well-read, and articulate. Different world view from me, certainly, as it turned out from Sir Roger Douglas, but came to the job with some credentials. Sir Roger himself had a plan, had a vision, and saved this country from economic calamity by floating the dollar and cutting the subsidies.
Ruth Richardson. Yes, a purist. But she could back the arguments up with fact, knew what she wanted to do, and had the intellectual heft to make it happen.
Helen Clark. Say whatever you like about her, but you can't possibly argue she isn't connected, isn't well read, and understands vast swathes of the world and how it works.
Sir John Key. Self-made, been out in the world, understood the markets, money, and therefore the economy like few others.
And so they go.
Fast forward to Mahuta, who can't even pick up a phone. She was an appointment you knew from day one was odd. You wondered, "How the hell did that happen?" And now, we have evidence of the greatest crime of all, whether in politics or not, the lack of an inquiring mind.
The best excuse they can come up with is that's not the way it's done.
What insulting, condescending, and embarrassing crap. When you are in charge, it's done the way you want it done.
People who can't be bothered do my head in. I detest laziness. The higher up the pole you are, the more you can do, and that's a privilege. What a thrill to be able to make a difference, to change a course, to be hungry, to grasp the detail, to immerse yourself into something you can affect and improve.
And yet look at them.
Clare Curran, hopeless and gone. David Clark was sacked for being an idiot. Kris Faafoi is asleep at the wheel and desperate to get out. Phil Twyford is an abject failure. Poto Williams is a disgrace hiding behind a lack of interest and Mahuta-type excuses about operational matters. Mahuta herself is too lazy and disinterested to even pick up a phone.
For those of us who long for better, this is a shabby and incompetent let down. Being useless is one thing, but being lazy and useless is the ultimate crime.
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