Red Alert

Archive for the ‘admin’ Category

On Murray McCully, leopards and spots

Posted by on April 28th, 2011

And now for something NOT about the Royal Wedding….has anybody noticed how remarkably consistent Murray McCully is? I mean, recall the Tourism Board fiasco when McCully was last a Minister? First, he created a little advisory unit to advise him alone on Tourism and Sport. He made it up. He appointed all the members – no precedent in the public service. Then he forced people he had appointed to the Tourism Board to resign, but made sure they took $340,000 tax free with them to make them feel better. The Auditor-General’s Office later found the payments to be unlawful and recommended the Board get the money back. Good luck with that – that was 1999. He also got a one-off $12.5 million boost for the Tourism Board for promotional work so that his mate Kevin Roberts, head of Saatchi and Saatchi at the time could live comfortably, given the Tourism Board was one of S&S’s clients. That got Jenny Shipley into a lot of hot water but she couldn’t remember what she and Kevin had talked about over dinner so that was alright.

Now he’s at it again, but this time with a Ministry (MFAT) which is a little harder to push around, but he’s still succeeding. Last year he passed over $75,000 or so to his old mate, Mark Blumsky, ex-shoe seller, Mayor of Wellington and fleeting MP. No tender process, no bidding required – just “here’s some money Mark, go and see what you can do to develop tourism in Niue. Oh, and by the way, I’ll chuck in the High Commissioner’s job as well.” He’s building on that success to reach over the top of trained and qualified diplomats to open postings to the private sector, who as we all know, are supremely qualified to run everything (eg: Merrill Lynch, Hanover, South Canterbury Finance, etc.).  So how can we continue to train diplomats who have NZ’s interests at heart when they know that McCully is simply going to reach over them with his sticky little fingers and dish out goodies to mates? Much has been made recently by Iain Rennie, State Services Commissioner, of how good it is for public sector workers to be seconded into the private sector. Well, it might be. But it would be really good for private sector whizz kids to spend some time in the public sector also – learning the difference between public interest and private interest; service and corruption. I am proud of our public service. They help us maintain our international reputation for being transparent and virtually corruption-free. I don’t know if Murray McCully understands that. Leopards and spots….that’s all I’m saying.

Red Alert – Feedback Wanted

Posted by on July 6th, 2009

We have been going for a couple of months – and have developed a range of styles and time commitment. Tumeke has given us recognition as one of the better new blogs but frankly we are tiny compared with established blogs.

Clare (the instigator) and the team now want to try and get feedback on how we can do better.

Clearly there are a range of post types. Big issues and policy development. (Cheap?) political shots. And lots in between. Styles go from laboured and worthy to hasty and error ridden.

Right from the start we knew that time availability would vary. I do more than most because I now do the vast majority of my correspondence and writing on line and getting the notifications means it is easy to respond. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than ten minutes on a posting. For others the laptop is not attached in the same way and take much more care and deliberation.

It has pushed relationships as we float ideas in others portfolio areas. And not everyone is keen on being the subject of a caption competition.

I’m  interested in feedback on moderation. We are after a tone that is a bit different from the top rating political blogs. What do you think?

So what do you like and what don’t you like. More importantly what aren’t we doing and what could we be doing better.

At the risk of sounding like myself at a rugby aftermatch this is a long game and thanks to the team for a good start.


Posted by on May 8th, 2009

The blog’s set up to require one admin-approved comment before subsequent ones will appear automatically.

For those of you who have already commented – and I’ve just approved them all – welcome, and your comments should appear instantaneously from now on.

UPDATE: IE6 users were reporting problems submitting comments, should be fixed now.

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Posted by on May 5th, 2009

Welcome to our blog.

These are the voices of Labour MPs on issues that we care about. It’s a bit different, and you’re going to see different perspectives. You can join in and have a direct discussion with us if you want to.

Labour wants its voices heard and we want to engage directly with you, the people. What you’ll read are the opinions of individual MPs. We won’t always agree with each other and sometimes our opinions may change.

It’s real. It’s honest. And it’s live.

– Clare Curran, Labour Communications and IT spokesperson.

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