The Soap Box: Govt's quick, quick, slow decision making process

Author
Barry Soper ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Friday, 9 November 2018, 6:07a.m.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this young, trendy Government are ballroom dancing exponents, particularly when it comes to the quick, quick, slow rhythm of the Rumba.

Certainly, that's the case when it's applied to its decision making processes.

The first major quick decision was made earlier this year when, out of the blue, it banned further oil and gas exploration, the lifeblood of Taranaki. This week the ban's been passed into law with the energiser Minister Megan Woods declaring it was a proud day, continuing this country's progressive history of leading on the world stage.

It's reinforced Jacinda Ardern's "nuclear-free moment" of her generation, climate change, even though chances are we'll end up importing what we're banning.

The other quick decision it now turns out was "the most difficult decision" that Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway's made in his career, preventing Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek's deportation and continuing his residency here, even if it is in a prison cell. The decision was made within an hour and relayed to the Czech's delighted lawyers.

It was based on the Minister reading an executive summary of the file given to him by Immigration NZ, done it seems without delving into the detail. Incredibly Lees-Galloway told us he was thorough when it came to handling the file, he took "much much longer" making a decision on this case, he tells us, than he's spent on other cases, which surely doesn't give any reassurance about how thorough he's been with the other cases.

Sroubek's entry into the country on false pretences, under a false name on a doctored passport, his gang associations and his conviction for smuggling five kilos of ecstasy into the country should have rung deafening alarm bells, rendering Lees-Galloway a poor prospect for the Rumba.

He initially had the backing of his boss with Ardern who told us he gave careful consideration of the case and made a very difficult decision. Reading between the lines, she said, we should be able to ascertain why the decision was made. Since then though, she's been doing the Foxtrot which is likely to become the Paso Doble before this one's done and dusted.

And when it comes to the slow step, that could be laid at the feet of Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha and the process adopted to get him into the job. The inquiry into that, which has gone on for longer than anyone expected, has been with the Beehive for almost a week now but conveniently wasn't released in time for the appearance before a Parliamentary select committee who quizzed Commissioner Mike Bush yesterday.

His appearance had been scheduled for weeks and National's police truncheon Chris Bishop says so much for Government's claim to be the most open and transparent in the country's history.

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