Why insult the public service?

I find it amazing that after many years thinking about broadcasting policy, Labour Party Minister Clare Curran reaches out to the very capable private sector businessman Michael Stiasnny, to head a new group to produce plans to give effect to Labour’s public broadcasting policy.

Why did she not request her Ministry of Culture and Heritage to do the job?  Does she really think they are so limited they could not do what Stiassny’s group has done at a reported cost of $1.5 million?  Does the PSA have a view as this implicit insult to the Ministry?

Given the parameters set by the Minister the report itself is unremarkable and could well have been done by her Ministry with maybe limited consultancy help.  I give it credit for suggesting a greater role for the private sector in producing content for RNZ in specific areas, where she believes are presently under serviced, such as the regions.

However deciding that responsibility will be shared by RNZ and NZ On Air reveals a naivety about real life in the public sector.   My involvement with it over several decades, particular as government relations consultant, is that when it comes to working seamlessly together, it very rarely succeeds.  Rivalries and jostling for more influence creates friction, extra costs and diminished responsibility for the outcome.

It would have been much better for the Government to just tell RNZ here is the money which you will need to spend in these areas.   NZ On Air would have the same oversight it presently has for the way RNZ spends its money.

This decision is yet another example of a Government throwing away the advantages of governing a small country by making policy much more complicated than it needs to be. We don’t need a public broadcasting commission as well as NZ On Air and its Maori counterpart Te Mangai Paho.

We have the Ministry of Culture and to make policy and NZ On Air to distribute funds – a new commission is just another formula for waste of the taxpayers money.  Stop it now!



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